South Africa slip to No. 3 in the Test rankings, while England rise to No. 5 © Getty Images
South Africa’s 0-2 defeat in their home series against England has pushed them off the top of the ICC Test Rankings. Now India, with 110 rating points, are the No. 1 Test team, with Australia one rating point shy in second place.
It has been over a year since South Africa last won a Test match and that was against the eighth-ranked West Indies. Even if they beat England in the fourth Test in Centurion, they won’t be able to improve on their current third position.
Since January 2015, South Africa have lost five out of nine games, besides accumulating four draws. They have had a captain stand down and the stand-in unsure of his long-term commitment to Test cricket.
England, by virtue of winning away from home, are in fifth place. They played out a highly entertaining drawn series against New Zealand at the start of the summer, then regained the Ashes with their fast bowlers putting in a strong display, but suffered a 0-2 defeat to Pakistan in the UAE. England have the opportunity to redress that scoreline when Pakistan come to their shores in July 2016 for a four-Test series. England’s next assignment in Tests though will be the three matches against Sri Lanka in May.
India, who beat South Africa 3-0 in December, have claimed the top spot for the first time since 2011. But they might not hold it for long. Australia are scheduled to play two Tests against New Zealand (ranked sixth) in February 2016 and will go top of the table if they win 1-0.
Virat Kohli and his men have enjoyed a fine season of Test cricket in the subcontinent. They broke a four-year drought without an overseas series win in Sri Lanka, coming from behind to beat the hosts 2-1 and then spun the South Africans out at home. The 337-run victory in the Delhi Test was India’s largest in terms of runs in their 83-year Test history.
Australia, under Steven Smith, have been just as prolific. They sealed the Frank Worrell Trophy in seven days, prior to which they won the inaugural Day-Night Test to cap off a 2-0 victory over New Zealand.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo