India face New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship final on Friday at Southampton.

That the World Test Championship final, which comes after two years of series to determine the finalists, is taking place at all is something of a triumph for the International Cricket Council especially considering the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

But India thanks to an enviable bench strength managed to overcome tough hurdles on the way to the final. The series victory in Australia was vital but India’s place in the final was earned largely due to strong home form with Virat Kohli’s men winning eight out of the nine Test in India.

Here’s how India got to the World Test Championship final:

India's performance in World Test Championship

2019 West Indies Away Won 2-0 120
2019-2020 South Africa Home Won 3-0 120
2019-2020 Bangladesh Home Won 2-0 120
2019-2020 New Zealand Away Lost 2-0 0
2020-2021 Australia Away Won 2-1 70
2020-2021 England Home Won 3-1 90

India won every series barring one against New Zealand and found heroes at different junctures. here’s a series-by-series account of India’s road to the title clash.

West Indies vs India (2019) - India win series 2-0

India started their World Test Championship campaign immediately after the 2019 ICC World Cup with a tour of the West Indies. Jasprit Bumrah and Ajinkya Rahane led from the front as India secured the series victory with two massive wins. India won by 318 runs in the first Test before a 257-run victory in the second match in Jamaica.

The highlight of the series was Bumrah’s hat-trick in the second Test. This was after he had bagged a five-for in the first Test. It set the tone for the rest of India’s campaign.

Watch: Jasprit Bumrah’s sensational hat-trick in second Test against West Indies

Watch: When Jasprit Bumrah blew West Indies away with a dream spell – and showed off his outswinger

India vs South Africa (2019) - India win series 3-0

India’s dominance at home was stretched into the WTC cycle as they put South Africa to the sword. Virat Kohli’s men started with a 203-run win in Vizag before back-to-back wins by an innings in Pune and Ranchi.

The biggest gain from the series apart from WTC points was Rohit Sharma’s emergence as a Test opener. After back-to-back centuries, Rohit Sharma hot his first double century as India dominated the Proteas from the word go. The fast bowlers picked 27 wickets in the entire series just five fewer than Indian spinners

All the records that opener Rohit Sharma broke with historic twin centuries in Vizag

India vs Bangladesh (2019) - India won 2-0

Another home series and another dominant performance from India who brushed aside Bangladesh inflicting innings defeat on the visitors in both matches. The series marked India’s first-ever day-night Test and the series was more remembered for the lavish celebrations than competitive cricket.

The series was memorable for Mayank Agarwal who scored a double century. Virat Kohli also scored a hundred while Ishant Sharma shone with the ball.

New Zealand vs India (2020) - New Zealand won 2-0

The first setback for India in the WTC cycle came against their final opponents New Zealand just before the Covid-19 pandemic brought cricket to a halt.

India’s batsmen had no answer to the Kiwi pacers as they crossed the 200-run mark just once in the four innings. Cheteshwar Pujara, Agarwal and Ajinkya Rahane offered some resistance at different intervals but it was not enough for India to stop New Zealand from sweeping the series.

India’s fast bowlers impressed but they rarely had enough runs to play with.

Australia vs India (2020-’21) - India won 2-1

India returned to competitive action after the Covid-19 pandemic with a tour to Australia. With just IPL behind them, India were expected to struggle Down Under as they had done all along their history barring the previous series in 2018. Australia won the first Test in convincing fashion bowling out India for 36 in the second innings. With Kohli set to depart on maternity leave it was expected to be a long series for India.

But led by Rahane, India bounced back winning the second Test in Melbourne. Their task though was made tougher by a series of injuries but the visitors battled hard to secure a draw at Sydney before turning the tables on the Australians in Brisbane to script one of their most remarkable series wins on foreign soil. Every member including the net bowlers who eventually got a chance to play due to injuries chipped in at crucial stages to help the team win that put them in pole position to reach the final.

India vs England (2021) - India won 3-1

Fresh from a big win in Australia, India were favourites against England but they were given a quick reality check when the visitors comfortably beat India in the first Test in Chennai by 227 runs.

India though bounced back instantly thanks to strong performance from their spinners and recorded a 317-run victory in the second Test.

Kohli’s men never looked back after that and sealed their place in the Southampton showpiece by winning the final two Tests in Ahmedabad in convincing fashion.