England can regain second position if it wins the series 4-0 or better
Download the Reliance ICC Rankings App via www.icc-cricket.com/mobile to predict outcome of the series
Australia starts its quest for regaining the Ashes against England from 21 November in Brisbane with one eye on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings Table.
Australia is currently ranked fifth on the championship table on 101 ratings points, while England is in third position – 15 ratings points ahead.
Australia can return to the top four by leapfrogging Pakistan if it manages to draw or win the series. Australia can also move ahead of England into third position if it wins the series 4-0 or better.
With the top four sides as of 31 December 2016 qualifying for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship scheduled for 2017, every Test counts towards the qualification.
For England, the series offers an opportunity to reclaim the number two ranking it held till India moved ahead of it last week following its 2-0 win over the West Indies. However, to make that happen, it will have to win the series by 4-0 or better.
To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the Rankings Table, please click here. The ODI and T20I Rankings tables, unlike the Test Rankings Table, are updated after every match.
Meanwhile, Australia captain Michael Clarke starts the series as the highest-ranked batsman on either side in fifth position on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen. In fact, he is the only Australia batsman inside the top 20 with the next highest-ranked batsman being Shane Watson in 32nd spot.
Clarke was last ranked number-one in January 2013 and is currently on 853 ratings points, 56 ratings points behind current number-one ranked AB de Villiers. A productive series with the bat could potentially see Clarke stake a claim for the top spot again.
For England, Ian Bell in 10th position is the highest-ranked batsman with captain Alastair Cook (11th), Kevin Pietersen (13th), Jonathan Trott (15th) and Matt Prior (17th) being the other batsmen ranked inside the top 20.
In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers Australia boasts of two bowlers - Ryan Harris (sixth), Peter Siddle (seventh) - inside the top 10. All the other Australia bowlers - Nathan Lyon (21st), Mitchell Johnson (23rd) and James Faulkner (78th) - are ranked outside the top 20.
In contrast, all the England bowlers figure inside the top 40 with Graeme Swann in seventh being the highest-ranked from his side. Among the others, James Anderson (10th), Stuart Broad (11th) and Steven Finn (20th) make up the top 20. Only Chris Tremlett (35th) and Monty Panesar (36th) are ranked outside the top 20.
About ICC World Test Championship
The inaugural ICC World Test Championship (ICC WTC) will be hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2017.
The qualification pathway for the ICC World Test Championship is through the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings, with the qualifying period being from 1 May 2013 to 31 December 2016.
The top four teams at the conclusion of the qualification period will qualify for the event in 2017. The results of all Test series ending after 1 May 2013, and the results of all Test series starting before 31 December 2016, will be included in the period that determine qualification for the ICC WTC.
The official hashtag for the ICC World Test Championship is #wtc
Australia v England, The Ashes
21-25 Nov: 1st Test, Brisbane
5-9 Dec: 2nd Test, Adelaide
13-17 Dec: 3rd Test, Perth
26-30 Dec: 4th Test, Melbourne
3-7 Jan 2014: 5th Test, Sydney