Sri Lanka eyes South Africa?s number-one spot

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka has narrowed the gap with number-one ranked South Africa to just two points in the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship after winning the two-Test series against New Zealand in Colombo on Sunday.

Sri Lanka’s 202 runs victory in the first Test at Galle and its 96-run win at Colombo has earned it a crucial ratings point which has put it on 120 points – just two behind South Africa and one ahead of third-placed India.

Such is the competitive nature of Test cricket, six ratings points separate the Proteas from Australia. And with all the top four teams to resume action in the longer format of the game immediately after next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa, a reshuffling of the pack is definitely on the cards.

The first Test series after the ICC Champions Trophy is West Indies’ tour to Australia for three Tests, followed by Sri Lanka’s tour to India, England’s tour to South Africa for four Tests and a three-Test tour by Pakistan’s to Australia.

This gives both India and Sri Lanka the first shot at the number-one spot as the first Test between South Africa and England starts after the conclusion of the Test series in India which, according to the Future Tours Programme, is likely to start in November. While Sri Lanka will need to win the series to go top of the table, India will have to win 2-0 to topple South Africa.

While Sri Lanka’s commanding performance in its domestic international series has put it in sight of the top spot, New Zealand has retained its seventh position in the rankings but has conceded two ratings points to lead eighth-placed West Indies by just four rating points and trailed sixth-place Pakistan by the same margin.


Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship (as of 30 August 2009)

Rank   Team              Rating

1          South Africa       122
2          Sri Lanka           120
3          India                  119
4          Australia            116
5          England             105
6          Pakistan              84
7          New Zealand        80
8          West Indies         76
9          Bangladesh         13