England set target of 425 points in quest to reach inaugural World Test Championship final
England have set a minimum target of 425 points in their quest to reach the inaugural World Test Championship final at Lord's in 2021.
Joe Root's team claimed a haul of 56 from the 2-2 draw in the Ashes, the first series of six that will count for them in the official table as the traditional form of the international game seeks context in the modern era.
After levelling the series at the Oval, Root spoke of his desire to front the England bid to reclaim the urn in 2021-22, and how the fifth-Test performance was much closer to the template of cricket he wants to see as captain.
England have set a target of 425 points in their bid to reach the World Test Championship final
Re-producing that on a regular basis will be key to heading down under as inaugural world champions - the top two countries in a nine-strong table are scheduled to face off for the trophy at the home of cricket in two summers' time.
England's statisticians have estimated that a points tally in excess of 425 will be required to secure the necessary top-two finish, meaning that Root's men will need a minimum 370 points from the remaining 600 on offer.
Calculations are complicated, however, as not all matches within the WTC carry the same weighting - each series is worth a maximum of 120 points, split equal between varying lengths of two to five matches. One-third of a match's win points is awarded to each team in those that are drawn.
It means that early leaders India already have 120 points on the board for a 2-0 away win over West Indies last month. Under the system, that is the equivalent of a 5-0 Ashes whitewash.
The inaugural World Test Championship final will be held at Lord's in 2021
To further complicate matters for supporters, England's next assignment, the two-match series in New Zealand in November will not count towards the Championship - countries only face six opponents over the two-year period and neither are England due to play Bangladesh - although the one of similar length in Sri Lanka next spring will.
And with 60 points for a victory the third of this coming winter's series - the four-match campaign versus South Africa starts on Boxing Day - it is already shaping as crucial.
England play 22 matches in total - 11 at home, 11 away - the most of any of the nine competing teams. Australia have 19 carded while India's 18 includes 10 home Tests.