South Africa have strengthened their position as the number-one ranked Test side while India move into second position pushing down England to the third spot in the latest rankings released Monday by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
South Africa have gained seven ratings points, lifting them to 135 ratings points - 19 ratings points clear of second-ranked India. Third-ranked England can regain No.2 spot if they win the Ashes 3-0 or better.
South Africa extended their lead at the top of the table due to their outstanding form in the Test arena, where they have not lost a Test match for 18 months and have not lost a Test series during the entire rankings period.
In 2012-2013 (the period in which results are weighted at 100 per cent), South Africa remained unbeaten, defeating England 2-0, Australia 1-0, New Zealand 2-0 and Pakistan 3-0.
Despite England having won their last two Test series against India, they now find themselves below Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side on account of their less consistent performances in other recent series, in particular against Pakistan (0-3), South Africa (0-2) and away to eighth-ranked New Zealand (0-0).
Also, India’s two 0-4 defeats in England and Australia in 2011-12 are now only weighted at 50 per cent, reducing their impact on India’s overall rating.
Although England have dropped behind India into third spot, Alastair Cook’s team can reclaim the number two spot by winning the upcoming Ashes series, starting July 10 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
England need to win by a margin of 3-0 or better to move into second place. On the other hand, if Australia regain the Ashes, they will move up a place to third, bumping England down one place to fourth.
The annual update ensures that the table continues to reflect recent form, with past results being discarded.
At the recent ICC Board meeting, it was decided that the annual update to the Test, ODI and T20I rankings would now take place on May 1 each year, rather than August 1, since it aligns better with the current international calendar.
“This change has been incorporated in the latest update, and has been backdated to May 1, 2013,” the ICC said in a release.
The updated table now reflects all Test series completed after August 1, 2010.