India eye 2nd spot in ICC Test rankings

Dubai: India have a chance to zoom up to second in the ICC Test rankings if Virat Kohli's men manage to sweep the four-match home-series against numero uno South Africa starting November 5 in Mohali.

A major re-shuffling of the rankings is on the cards as fifth-ranked India host South Africa with heavyweight star performers in action over the next few weeks.

In this series, India will have an opportunity to climb to second position, a fraction of a point behind South Africa.

However, to make it happen, they will have to win all the four Tests.

On the other side of the coin, South Africa will vault to 130 points and India will plummet to 96 points if the visitors win all four Tests.

AB de Villiers (third), and Hashim Amla (fourth), who are separated by just nine points, with team-mate Faf du Plessis sitting in 16th spot will feature for South Africa.

Kohli is India's highest-ranked batsman in 13th position and is accompanied by Cheteshwar Pujara (19th) and Murali Vijay (20th) inside the top 20 Batsmen.

Ravichandran Ashwin occupies the second spot in the top five all-rounders rankings and will also play a crucial role in the series.

Led by number one-ranked Dale Steyn, South Africa boasts of Vernon Philander (seventh) and Morne Morkel (11th) inside the top 20 Bowlers with Imran Tahir in the 59th spot.

For India, Ravichandran Ashwin (eighth) and Ishant Sharma (19th) are inside the top 20, while the next highest-ranked bowler is Ravindra Jadeja in 30th spot, followed by Amit Mishra (38th), Umesh Yadav (42nd) and Varun Aaron (86th).

Also beginning Thursday, number two-ranked Australia host sixth-ranked New Zealand in a three-match series, including the first-ever day-night Test in Adelaide.

India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand as well as third-ranked England and fourth-ranked Pakistan, who are battling for supremacy in the Sharjah Test, are separated by just 26 points on the ICC Test Championship.

If Pakistan win the final Test, then they will move marginally ahead of Australia into the second place for the first time in nearly in a decade, while England will drop behind New Zealand to sixth position by a fraction of a point.

In the case of England winning the Test, both sides will retain their pre-series rankings and points.

The ICC Test Championship table will then be updated at the end of Australia-New Zealand series, which means Australia will have to win the series 1-0 or better to ensure they stay ahead of Pakistan (if Pakistan wins 2-0). In this series, Australia can rise to as high as 110 points, but can also drop to as low as 99 points.

In contrast, New Zealand will gain seven points if they win 3-0 but will slip to 94 points if Australia sweep the series.

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