The latest ICC Test rankings, released after England’s first ever series defeat on home soil to Sri Lanka, sees Australia remain at the summit with South Africa a fraction of a point adrift. GARETH STEVENS reports.
Here are the ICC Test rankings released on 24 June:
Australia: 32 matches. 3950 points. Rating: 123
South Africa: 23 matches. 2831 points. Rating: 123
Pakistan: 20 matches. 2064 points. Rating: 103
India: 23 matches. 2343 points. Rating: 102
England: 33 matches. 3301 points. Rating: 100
Sri Lanka: 25 matches. 2398 points. Rating: 96
New Zealand: 26 matches. 2383 points. Rating: 92
West Indies: 19 matches. 1442 points. Rating: 76
Zimbabwe: 8 matches. 332 points. Rating: 40
Bangladesh: 14 matches. 287 points. Rating: 21
Hashim Amla’s Proteas do have the chance to leapfrog the Australians into first place when they visit Sri Lanka for a two Test match series in July. Each Test will be vitally important as they will have a significant effect on South Africa’s rating.
Here is an explanation of all the possible scenarios:
If the series is drawn, either 0-0 or 1-1, South Africa will remain in second position, but drop to a rating of 119. A 1-0 or 2-0 loss would see the Proteas drop to ratings of 115 and 114 respectively, surrendering any chance of regaining the top spot for the foreseeable future.
Sri Lanka has traditionally been a tough place to tour for South Africa and the islanders will be riding high after their historic triumph in England. An improbable clean sweep would take South Africa to the top of the table with a rating of 125. If a 1-0 series victory is completed then the Proteas rating and position on the table will remain unchanged.
A once off Test against Zimbabwe in August will have no real effect on the ICC Test rankings, but South Africa could find themselves on top of the world in early November, without even playing, if Australia fail to beat Pakistan in a two Test match series.
A drawn series would see Australia drop to a rating of 122, while a 1-0 or 2-0 loss would result in ratings of 119 and 118 respectively. However, 1-0 or 2-0 wins would take them to ratings of 125 and 126 respectively and the No 1 spot regardless of South Africa’s result against Sri Lanka.
With all the scenarios a distinct possibility, as the two best sides on the planet travel to unfamiliar conditions, we could see the mantle of world leaders in the sport change hands a couple times over the next few months.