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Plenty at stake as England and Australia go head to head in ODI series

This series will provide both the teams with a good opportunity to prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy and improve their ranking as well

Plenty at stake as England and Australia go head to head in ODI series - Cricket News
Both the teams would be looking to do better and improve their rankings.
Strauss's men can move ahead of their visitors if they win 5-2 or better while Ponting's side can reclaim number-one position in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship.

Ideal opportunity for both sides to prepare for this month's ICC Champions Trophy.

After consigning Australia to its lowest Test ranking to date, England can leapfrog its old foe in the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Championship table as the two sides go head to head in the seven-match ODI series which gets underway at The Oval on Friday.

Australia currently occupies third place on the ladder with 119 ratings points, leading fourth-placed England by eight points. South Africa is in number-one position on 127 ratings points followed by India on 126.

However, England can move ahead of Australia if it wins the series 7-0, 6-1 or 5-2. As the ODI table is updated after every match, England can overtake Australia as early as Sunday if it wins both the ODIs in London.

If the home side wins the series 7-0, it will vault to 125 ratings points while Australia will fall to 107 ratings points and possibly as low as seventh place in the table, depending how the tri-nation series in Sri Lanka to be played from 8 to 14 September pans out. A 5-2 series result in England's favour will put it on 118 ratings points and four ahead of Australia.

There is opportunity for the visitor, too, as Australia can regain the number-one spot from South Africa. But for this to happen, it will not only have to win all the matches against England but will also require either New Zealand or Sri Lanka to beat India at least once in Colombo.

Nevertheless, if India wins all the three matches in Sri Lanka and irrespective of the outcome of the England and Australia series, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side will go on top of the table for the first time since the rankings were introduced in October 2002. So it's all to play for.

While this is an ideal opportunity for the England and Australia to make upward movements in the championship table, it is also an excellent chance for them to make their final preparations for this month's ICC Champions Trophy to be staged in South Africa from 22 September to 5 October.

Australia will defend the title it won at the Cricket Club of India in October 2006 by defeating the West Indies while England's best finish was in 2004 when it had reached the final.

Below follows a table of England-Australia ODI series scenarios:    

Australia England South Africa
Current 119 111 127
England wins 7-0 107 125  
England wins 6-1 110 121  
England wins 5-2 114 118  
England wins 4-3 117 114  
Australia wins 7-0 128 101  
Australia wins 6-1 126 104  
Australia wins 5-2 123 107  
Australia wins 4-3 120 111  

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen, Australia boasts three players in the top 20 while England’s highest-ranked batsman is Paul Collingwood in 28th spot with Owais Shah occupying 38th place and captain Andrew Strauss holding 54th position.

Australia’s left-hander Mike Hussey is just behind India’s second-placed Yuvraj Singh while 11th-placed Michael Clarke and 15th-ranked Ricky Ponting are breathing down the necks of batsmen ahead of them. Good performances by the trio could potentially help them improve their current rankings.

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, new-ball partners Nathan Bracken and Mitchell Johnson hold the sixth and seventh positions respectively while Stuart Broad of England is in eighth place. Australia’s James Hopes is just outside the top 10 in 12th position.

The bowlers’ list is headed by Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Kulasekara with New Zealand pair of Kyle Mills and Daniel Vettori in second and third positions.

In the absence of Andrew Flintoff, Hopes is the highest-ranked all-rounder from either side. He sits just outside the top five in sixth position, one point behind fifth-ranked Yuvraj Singh of India, three points behind fourth-placed Jacques Kallis of South Africa and six points behind third-ranked Jacob Oram of New Zealand.

Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan leads the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders.

The following is the ODI series schedule:

4 Sep – England v Australia,The Oval 
6 Sep – England v Australia, Lord’s 
9 Sep – England v Australia, Southampton 
12 Sep – England v Australia, Lord’s 
15 Sep – England v Australia, Nottingham 
17 Sep – England v Australia, Nottingham 
20 Sep – England v Australia, Chester-le-Street  

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