IN order to retain their number one ranking in Test cricket, the Proteas must ensure they don’t lose their upcoming Test series against England.
Following their 3-0 Test series loss to India, the Proteas retained their No 1 Test ranking, but their lead at the top has been slashed from 16 points to just four points.
That series result has helped India gain 10 points, which lifted them from 100 points to 110 points and ahead of Australia and Pakistan, who have slipped one place each to third and fourth, respectively.
India have no more Tests before the annual April 1 cut-off date, but third-ranked Australia will host eighth-ranked West Indies in a three-Test series from December 10, sixth-ranked New Zealand will go head-to-head with seventh-ranked Sri Lanka also from December 10, while fifth-ranked England will travel to South Africa for a four-Test series which will start in Durban on December 26.
To finish as number one-ranked Test side at the annual cut-off date, South Africa will have to, at least, draw the series with England. Their failure to do so, will result in the Proteas falling from the top pedestal and handing the No 1 position to Australia (provided they win the series against the West Indies 3-0).
ICC Test Championship (after the conclusion of India-South Africa Test series):
South Africa 114 points
New Zealand 95
Sri Lanka 93
West Indies 76