South Africa currently lead the rankings with 123 rating points and have a five-point lead over second-placed England. Graeme Smith’s side retained the Test Championship Mace in December 2012 after it defeated Australia 1-0.
For South Africa to retain the No 1 spot, they just need a 0-0 result or better in the two-match series against New Zealand. South Africa could at best gain one rating point for winning the series 2-0 but could lose one point if they win the series 1-0. In the event of the series ending at 1-1, South Africa would drop down to 119 points, just one ahead of England, currently placed at 118.
But if South Africa were to lose the Test series against New Zealand 0-1, they would also lose the top position to England — dropping seven points in the process to end on 116. Then, South Africa’s final position on the table will depend on the result in the Australia-Sri Lanka series. Australia currently lead the series 2-0.