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Australia needs to win series against New Zealand to finish as the number-one ranked Test side at the annual cut-off date

Series triumph will help it reclaim the prestigious ICC Test Championship mace and also win prize money of $1million

Australia needs to win series against New Zealand to finish as the number-one ranked Test side at the annual cut-off date - Cricket News
Second-ranked Australia goes head to head with New Zealand in a two-Test series in Wellington on Friday aware that it has to win the series to seal the number-one Test spot.
Second-ranked Australia goes head to head with New Zealand in a two-Test series in Wellington on Friday aware that it has to win the series to seal the number-one Test spot on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings table at the annual cut-off date.
 
The annual cut-off date is 1 April, but since this is the final Test series before focus shifts to the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, the decision on the best Test side will be confirmed by 24 Feb when the second Test concludes in Christchurch.
 
This, in turn, means along with the number-one position, the prestigious ICC Test Championship mace as well as cash prize of $1 million is up for grabs.
 
The ICC Board, during its October 2015 meetings, had improved the incentives for Test performances by increasing the level of Test ranking prize money, to be allocated as following:
 
No.1 ranked Test side - $1million
No.2 ranked Test side - $500K
No.3 ranked Test side - $200K
No.4 ranked Test side - $100K
TOTAL - $1.8million
 
India currently occupies the number-one Test position on 110 points, but Australia is just one point behind. If Australia wins the series 1-0, then it will finish on 111 points, while a 2-0 win will put it on 112 points. A 1-1 draw will mean Australia will join South Africa on 109 points, but will be ranked third when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.
 
On the other side of the coin, if New Zealand wins the series 1-0, then Australia will drop to third on 106 points and fourth on 105 points if the home side wins both Tests.
 
For New Zealand, the incentive is to gain a place and move ahead of England in fifth position. But to make it happen, it will have to win both Tests. It will drop to 96 points but will retain its sixth position if Australia wins both the matches.
 
The MRF Tyres ICC Test predictor function is available here.
 
Meanwhile, Australia captain Steve Smith and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson will resume their battle for the number-one position on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings for Test Batsmen. Smith leads Williamson by 10 points after leapfrogging the New Zealander following the Boxing Day Test against the West Indies.
 
Fifth-ranked David Warner is the other batsman inside the top five who will be aiming to break into the top three. The left-handed opener trails fourth-ranked Hashim Amla by six points while the duo of Williamson and Joe Root are 35 points ahead.
 
Adam Voges of Australia is also inside the top 10 and shares 10th position with India’s Ajinkya Rahane, with Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq 11 points ahead.
 
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will enter in his farewell Test in 19th position among batsmen and will aim to finish solidly inside the top 20. McCullum is 20 points behind India’s 16th- ranked Murali Vijay. McCullum has been inside the top 20 since December 2013, while he achieved his career-high 12th rankings in December 2014 against Sri Lanka in Christchurch.
 
In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, Trent Boult of New Zealand will start as the highest-ranked bowler in seventh position, leading Josh Hazlewood of Australia by 46 points. New Zealand’s Tim Southee is ninth, 10 points behind Hazlewood.
 
Other high ranking bowlers to feature in the series include Nathan Lyon (14th), Peter Siddle (15th), James Pattinson (21st), Neil Wagner (22nd) and Doug Bracewell (34th).
 
Stuart Broad is the number-one ranked bowler, followed by Ravichandran Ashwin of India and Pakistan’s Yasir Shah.
 
Series schedule:
12-16 Feb – 1st Test, Wellington
20-24 Feb – 2nd Test, Christchurch
 
MRF Tyres ICC Test Championship (as of 10 February, before the start of New Zealand-Australia series)
 
RANK    TEAM                  POINTS
1            India                    110
2            Australia             109
3            South Africa       109
4            Pakistan              106
5            England              102
6            New Zealand     99
7            Sri Lanka             89
8            West Indies       76
9            Bangladesh        47
10          Zimbabwe          05
 
(Developed by David Kendix)
 
MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings
 
Batsmen (top 10)
Rank      Player                  Team     Pts         Ave        HS Rating

   1         Steve Smith         Aus        899        57.90    936 v Eng at Lord's 2015
   2=       Kane Williamson NZ          889        49.93    893 v Aus at Perth 2015
              Joe Root                             Eng        889        54.93    917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015
   4         Hashim Amla       SA          860        51.45    907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013
   5         David Warner      Aus        854        51.34    880 v NZ at Perth 2015
   6         Younus Khan       Pak         826        53.94    880 v SL at Lahore 2009
   7         AB de Villiers       SA          818        50.46    935 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2014
   8         Angelo Mathews SL           808        50.18    877 v NZ at Christchurch 2014
   9         Misbah-ul-Haq    Pak         764        48.89    842 v NZ at Abu Dhabi 2014
  10        Ajinkya Rahane   Ind         753!      44.97    753 v SA at Delhi 2015
             
Bowlers (top 10)
Rank      Player                  Team     Pts         Avge      Econ      HS Rating

   1         Stuart Broad        Eng        872        28.66    880 v SA at Johannesburg 2016
   2         R. Ashwin            Ind         871!      25.39    871 v SA at Delhi 2015
   3         Yasir Shah            Pak         846*!    24.17    846 v Eng at Sharjah 2015
   4         Dale Steyn           SA          841        22.53    909 v WI at Centurion 2014
   5         James Anderson  Eng        805        29.18    847 v WI at Barbados 2015
   6         Ravindra Jadeja   Ind         789*!    23.76    789 v SA at Delhi 2015
   7         Trent Boult          NZ          787        28.28    825 v Eng at Lord's 2015
   8         Josh Hazlewood  Aus        741*     24.54    792 v WI at Hobart 2015
   9         Tim Southee        NZ          731        31.47    799 v WI at Jamaica 2014
  10        Morne Morkel     SA          724        29.33    776 v Aus at Cape Town 2011
 
All-rounders (top five)
Rank      Player                  Team     Pts         HS Rating

   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        310       382 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2012
   4         Ben Stokes           Eng        276 /*! 276 v SA at Centurion 2016
   5         Vernon Philander              SA          275*/    376 v Aus at Cape Town 2014
 
*indicates provisional rating; a batsman qualifies for a full rating after playing 40 Test innings; a bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets.
!indicates career-highest rating

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