England holds on to number-one Test ranking

Dubai, April 07, 2012: England will start its domestic international season next month as the number-one ranked Test side in the Reliance ICC Test Championship after retaining the top spot following its eight wickets victory over Sri Lanka in the Colombo Test as the two-Test series ended in a one-all draw on Saturday test ranking.

England had entered the two-Test series against Sri Lanka leading its closest rival South Africa by two ratings points. And though it conceded two ratings points to join South Africa on 116 ratings points, England has been rated above the Proteas when the ratings were calculated beyond the decimal point. Had England lost the Colombo Test, it would have slipped behind South Africa in second position and may even have been pushed into third place if Australia had defeated the West Indies in all the three Tests of the ongoing series.

This is the second time in less than a month that England’s number-one status has been at risk. While this time it was its gutsy and brave on-field effort, last month weather had come to its rescue after two of South Africa’s three Tests in New Zealand were marred by bad weather as the Proteas chased victories in all the three Tests to leapfrog England into number-one position. England may have successfully held on to its position, the threat on its number-one status is still looming.

With the West Indies and South Africa touring England this summer from 17 May and 19 July, respectively, a series loss in any of the two series will mean England’s ranking will take a dive, provided Australia wins its series against the West Indies. If Australia beats the West Indies by 1-0 or better and England wins all the three Tests against the West Indies, Andrew Strauss’s side can still drop behind South Africa if Graeme Smith’s side wins the second Test series of the summer in England by 1-0 or better.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has gained one ratings point and has moved to 99 ratings points – nine ratings points behind fifth-ranked Pakistan. Now, only eight ratings points separate the top five sides which sets up an exciting next 12 months of Test cricket as all the sides will try to too the table at the next 1 April cut-off date as at stake is an enhanced cash award of US$450,000.

The Championship table will now be updated at the end of West Indies-Australia Test series. Image © ECB

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