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South Africa puts its number-one Test ranking on the line as it takes on England

South Africa will gain five points to rise to 119 points if it wins 4-0, but when the series result is reserved, then it will drop to as low as fifth with England returning into the top four

South Africa puts its number-one Test ranking on the line as it takes on England - Cricket News
  • Five-way fight between Williamson, Root, de Villiers, Smith and Warner to finish 2015 as the top-ranked batsman
  • Steyn aims to end another year as world’s highest-ranked Test bowler
 
South Africa will face its stiffest challenge in defence of its status as the number-one ranked Test side in the world when it goes heads to head with England in a four-Test series starting in Durban on Saturday.
 
South Africa leads sixth-ranked England by 15 points and this difference means it is expected to win the series comfortably. However, its failure to win the series will mean it will drop from the top pedestal for the first time since July 2014.
 
South Africa will gain five points to rise to 119 points if it wins 4-0, but when the series result is reserved, then it will drop to as low as fifth with England returning into the top four.
 
To guarantee number-one Test spot at the annual 1 April cut-off date, irrespective of how the Australia-West Indies and Australia-New Zealand series pan out, Hashim Amla’s side needs to win the series against Alastair Cook’s side.
 
The following are the South Africa-England series permutations:
 
If SA wins 4-0 – SA 119 pts (1st); Eng 95 pts (6th)
If SA wins 3-0 – SA 118 pts (1st); Eng 96 pts (6th)
If SA wins 2-0 or 3-1 – SA 116 pts (1st); Eng 97 pts (6th)
If SA wins 1-0 or 2-1 – SA 115 pts (1st); Eng 98 pts (6th)
If Eng wins 1-0 or 2-1 – SA 109 pts (3rd); Eng 102 pts (5th)
If Eng wins 2-0 or 3-1 – SA 107 pts (3rd); Eng 104 pts (5th)
If Eng wins 3-0 – SA 106 pts (4th); Eng 105 pts (5th)
If Eng wins 4-0 – SA 105 pts (5th); Eng 106 pts (4th)
If Aus beats WI 3-0 – Aus 111 pts; WI pts 74 (8th)
 
To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the ICC Test Championship, please click here. The Test rankings table is updated after the end of each series.
 
Meanwhile, the fight for who finishes the year as the number-one ranked batsman in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsman has come down to the wire as only 26 points separate top-ranked Kane Williamson from fifth-ranked David Warner.
 
While Williamson will be involved in the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka, second-ranked Joe Root, third-ranked AB de Villiers, fourth-ranked Steve Smith and fifth-ranked Warner will be aiming to perform strongly in the Boxing Day Tests so that they can finish 2015 in top spot.
 
Other South Africa and England batsmen likely to appear in the Durban Test and hoping for upward movements include Amla (seventh), Cook (ninth), Faf du Plessis (26th), Gary Ballance (36th), Dean Elgar (40th), JP Duminy (45th), Ben Stokes (48th) and Moeen Ali, who shares 50th spot with Australia’s Usman Khawaja.
 
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, South Africa’s Dale Steyn will be under pressure to perform strongly in Durban, otherwise he’ll drop from the top spot for the first time since February 2014.
 
Steyn first achieved the number-one ranking in July 2009 and has finished as the top-ranked bowler each year except in 2013, when Vernon Philander leapfrogged him in December and occupied the coveted position for 56 days.
 
Steyn’s failure to shine with the ball will hand the number-one ranking to India’s Ravichandran Ashwin. Ashwin is on a career-high 871 points, just four points behind Steyn.
 
England’s James Anderson is in third position, 29 points behind, while his team-mate Stuart Broad is in fifth position. Like the batsmen, the top five bowlers are separated by 35 points.
 
The player rankings will be updated at the end of Durban and Melbourne Tests.
 
Forthcoming Tests
 
Australia v West Indies
26-30 Dec – 2nd Test, Melbourne
3-7 Jan – 3rd Test, Sydney
 
South Africa v England
26-30 Dec – 1st Test, Durban
2-6 Jan – 2nd Test, Cape Town
14-18 Jan – 3rd Test, Johannesburg
22-26 Jan – 4th Test, Centurion
 
New Zealand v Australia
12-16 Feb – 1st Test, Wellington
20-24 Feb – 2nd Test, Christchurch
 
ICC Test Team Championship (as on 24 December, before the start of South Africa-England Test series)
 
Rank   Team              Points
1          South Africa   114
2          India                110
3          Australia          109
4          Pakistan          106
5          New Zealand      99
6          England            99
7          Sri Lanka          89
8          West Indies      76
9          Bangladesh      47
10        Zimbabwe          5
 
(Developed by David Kendix)
 
ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 24 December, before the start of South Africa-England Test series, and Melbourne Test between Australia and West Indies)
 
Batsmen (top 10)
 
Rank      Player                   Team     Points    Avge      HS Ranking
   1           K. Williamson       NZ          889        49.93     893 v Aus at Perth 2015
   2           Joe Root               Eng         886         54.90     917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015
   3           AB de Villiers        SA           881         51.39     935 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2014
   4           Steve Smith          Aus         874         54.61     936 v Eng at Lord's 2015
   5           David Warner       Aus         863         50.64     880 v NZ at Perth 2015
   6           Younus Khan       Pak         826         53.94     880 v SL at Lahore 2009
   7           Hashim Amla       SA           810         50.64     907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013
   8           Angelo Mathews  SL           808         50.18     877 v NZ at Christchurch 2014
   9           Alastair Cook       Eng         803         47.47     874 v Ind at Kolkata 2012
  10         Misbah-ul-Haq    Pak         764         48.89     842 v NZ at Abu Dhabi 2014
 
Selected rankings (top 50)
 
Rank      (+/-)        Player   Team    Points    Avge      HS Ranking
  15         Adam Voges         Aus         720*!    76.83     720 v WI at Hobart 2015
  25         Darren Bravo         WI          631         41.34     709 v Aus at Trinidad 2012
  26         Faf du Plessis       SA           627         43.19     710 v WI at Port Elizabeth 2014
  35         K. Brathwaite        WI          556         33.76     591 v Eng at Grenada 2015
  36         Gary Ballance       Eng         549*      47.76     702 v WI at Grenada 2015
  37         Marlon Samuels    WI          547         34.27     672 v Zim at Barbados 2013
  39         Shaun Marsh        Aus         537*!    37.72     537 v WI at Hobart 2015
  40         Dean Elgar           SA           530*      34.46     558 v Ind at Bengaluru 2015
  45         JP Duminy           SA           501         32.92     586 v SL at Galle 2014
  46         J. Blackwood        WI          499*      35.33     575 v Eng at Barbados 2015
  48         Ben Stokes          Eng         463*      28.58     594 v Aus at Lord's 2015
  50=       Moeen Ali             Eng         462*      27.76     517 v Aus at The Oval 2015
                Usman Khawaja  Aus         462*      40.05     471 v NZ at Perth 2015
 
Bowlers (top 10)
 
Rank      Player                   Team     Points    Avge      Highest Ranking
   1           Dale Steyn            SA           875         22.56     909 v WI at Centurion 2014
   2           R. Ashwin              Ind          871!         25.39     871 v SA at Delhi 2015
   3=        James Anderson     Eng         846         28.96     847 v WI at Barbados 2015
                Yasir Shah            Pak         846*!        24.17     846 v Eng at Sharjah 2015
   5           Stuart Broad         Eng         840           29.12     852 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015
   6           Josh Hazlewood    Aus         792*!         22.65     792 v WI at Hobart 2015
   7           Ravindra Jadeja     Ind          789*!          23.76     789 v SA at Delhi 2015
   8           Trent Boult           NZ          787             28.28     825 v Eng at Lord's 2015
   9           Vernon Philander  SA           746            22.08     912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013
  10         Tim Southee         NZ          731              31.47     799 v WI at Jamaica 2014
 
Selected rankings (top 50)
 
Rank       Player                  Team     Points     Avge    Highest Ranking
  11         Morne Morkel          SA           726       29.30     776 v Aus at Cape Town 2011
  15         Nathan Lyon           Aus         641        33.78     648 v Eng at Melbourne 2013
  16         Peter Siddle           Aus         619        30.06     816 v Eng at Old Trafford 2013
  19         Kemar Roach         WI          611         29.02     774 v SA at Centurion 2014
  22         Steven Finn           Eng         559         28.58     624 v NZ at Headingley 2013
  25         Jerome Taylor        WI          530*         33.83     717 v Eng at Jamaica 2009
  28         James Pattinson   Aus         497*         26.35     573 v Ind at Hyderabad 2013
  30         Moeen Ali             Eng         485*!        38.14     485 v Pak at Sharjah 2015
  42         Ben Stokes           Eng         402*         40.44     442 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2015
  44         Kyle Abbott           SA           383*!       19.10     383 v Ind at Delhi 2015
  45         Devendra Bishoo    WI          379*         38.05     426 v Ind at Delhi 2011
 
All- Rounders (top 5)
 
Rank      Player                Team                Points            Highest Ranking
  1         R. Ashwin              Ind                     406                 419 v WI at Mumbai 2013
  2         Shakib Al Hasan     Ban                   384                 419 v Zim at Khulna 2014
  3         Stuart Broad           Eng                   315                 382 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2012
  4         Vernon Philander     SA                    298*/               376 v Aus at Cape Town 2014
  5         Ravindra Jadeja       Ind                    259*/*!              259 v SA at Delhi 2015

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