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South Africa eye second place as Test rankings interestingly poised

South Africa will be looking to climb the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team rankings as they get set to face Pakistan on Boxing Day.
  • South Africa could come within one point of top-ranked India; New Zealand can no more move to second place but will gain two important points with a win in second Test against Sri Lanka
  • Top-ranked Rabada, Abbas among bowlers and Elgar, Azhar among batsmen the ones to watch in terms of rankings in upcoming three-Test series between South Africa and Pakistan

The scenario in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings is interestingly poised with top-ranked India currently playing in Australia, New Zealand engaged in a series against Sri Lanka and now South Africa getting set for a Boxing Day opening to their three Tests against Pakistan.

All three series have a bearing on the top five positions, with South Africa having the advantage of knowing what they can reap rewards in home conditions. Currently placed third, South Africa have a chance to leapfrog England to second place but also face the danger of being overtaken by their rivals Pakistan and slipping to sixth place.

South Africa's last Test assignment saw them lose to Sri Lanka 2-0
South Africa's last Test assignment saw them lose to Sri Lanka 2-0

South Africa are two points behind England and a 2-0 win will take them to 108 points and above England on decimal points. A 3-0 win will carry South Africa to 110 points, and to within one point of India, should India lose the remaining two matches to Australia. On the other hand, a 3-0 series loss will see South Africa drop to 99 points with Pakistan reaching 100 points.

India, who currently enjoy an eight-point lead over England, will end the series against Australia at 111 points with a 3-1 series loss but will go up to 118 points with a 3-1 series win.

In the other ongoing Test series, New Zealand, who had a chance to go up to 109 points and second place with a 2-0 series win, will now be looking to reach 107 points by winning the second match after the opening match ended in a draw. Sri Lanka will be on 91 points in such a scenario but go up to 96 if they win the second Test. New Zealand will slip to 100 points if they lose.

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Series scenarios:

  • South Africa win 3-0: South Africa 110 points, Pakistan 88 points
  • South Africa win 2-0: South Africa 108, Pakistan 89
  • South Africa win 2-1 or 1-0: South Africa 107, Pakistan 91
  • Series drawn: South Africa 105, Pakistan 94
  • Pakistan win 3-0: South Africa 99, Pakistan 100
  • Pakistan win 2-0: South Africa 101, Pakistan 99
  • Pakistan win 2-1 or 1-0: South Africa 102, Pakistan 97

In the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings, South Africa’s top-ranked fast bowler Kagiso Rabada gets a chance to increase his lead of eight points over England’s James Anderson, while third-ranked Vernon Philander will have to fight it out against Pakistan’s fast-rising fast bowler Mohammad Abbas, who trails him by only five points.

Spinner Keshav Maharaj (19th) and formerly top-ranked Dale Steyn (24th), tied with former all-rounder Shaun Pollock at 421 wickets as the highest-wicket taker in Tests for South Africa, will also get a chance to work their way up.

Dale Steyn is set to become South Africa's leading wicket-taker in Test cricket
Dale Steyn is set to become South Africa's leading wicket-taker in Test cricket

Among their batsmen, left-handed opener Dean Elgar (eighth), Aiden Markram (11th), Hashim Amla (14th) and Faf du Plessis (17th) will be looking to move up within the list of top 20 batsmen, which features only one Pakistan batsman.

Opener Azhar Ali (10th) and Asad Shafiq (23rd) are the leading names for the visiting team with three of their batsmen in the 30s – captain Sarfraz Ahmed (32nd), Babar Azam (36th) and Haris Sohail (38th).

Apart from fourth-ranked Abbas, formerly top-ranked leg-spinner Yasir Shah (10th) will be looking to recreate the magic of a recent three-Test series against New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates, where he finished with 29 wickets. Fast bowlers Mohammad Amir (36th) and Hasan Ali (39th) will also be hoping to move up the ladder.


South Africa v Pakistan

26-30 December – 1st Test, Centurion

3-7 January – 2nd Test, Cape Town

11-15 January – 3rd Test, Johannesburg


MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings (as on 24 December, before the South Africa-Pakistan series):

1. India 116
2. England 108
3. South Africa 106
4. New Zealand 105
5. Australia 102
6. Sri Lanka 93
7. Pakistan 92
8. West Indies  70
9. Bangladesh 69
10. Zimbabwe 13
11. Afghanistan 00
12. Ireland 00


MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 24 December, before the South Africa-Pakistan series):

Batsmen (top 10)

Rank Player Team Pts Avge Highest Rating
1 Virat Kohli Ind 934 54.23 937 v Eng at Southampton 2018
2 K. Williamson NZ 915! 51.91 915 v SL at Wellington 2018
3 Steve Smith Aus 892 61.37 947 v SA at Durban 2018
4 C. Pujara Ind 816 49.77 888 v SL at Nagpur 2017
5 Joe Root Eng 807 50.44 917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015
6 David Warner Aus 787 48.20 880 v NZ at Perth 2015
7 D. Karunaratne SL 752 37.73 754 v SA at Colombo (SSC) 2018
8 Dean Elgar SA 724 41.05 784 v Aus at Johannesburg 2018
9= Azhar Ali Pak 708 44.88 787 v Aus at Melbourne 2016
  Henry Nicholls NZ 708* 39.56 709 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2018


Other selected rankings

Rank Player    Team   Pts Avge Highest Rating
11 Aiden Markram SA 703* 47.27 759 v Aus at Johannesburg 2018
14 Hashim Amla SA 673 47.23 907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013
17   Faf du Plessis SA 665 42.33 734 v Ind at Centurion 2018
23 Asad Shafiq Pak 626 39.40 758 v Eng at Lord's 2016


Bowlers (top 10)

Rank Player Team Pts  Avge Highest Rating
1 K. Rabada SA 882 21.71 902 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2018
2 J. Anderson Eng 874 26.98 903 v Ind at Lord's 2018
3 V. Philander SA 826 21.54 912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013
4 M. Abbas Pak 821* 16.62 838 v NZ at Abu Dhabi 2018
5 R. Jadeja Ind 796 23.50 899 v Aus at Ranchi 2017
6 R. Ashwin Ind 778 25.43 904 v Eng at Mumbai 2016
7 Nathan Lyon Aus 766 31.60 774 v Eng at Adelaide 2017
8 Pat Cummins Aus 761* 24.80 800 v SA at Johannesburg 2018
9 J. Hazlewood Aus 758 26.66 863 v Ind at Bengaluru 2017
10 Yasir Shah Pak 757 28.26 878 v Eng at Lord's 2016


Other selected rankings

Rank Player Team Pts Avge Highest Rating
19 K. Maharaj SA 692* 27.65 695 v Zim at Port Elizabeth 2017
24 Dale Steyn SA 635 22.64 909 v Win at Centurion 2014
36 M. Amir Pak 501* 31.25 658 v Eng at Lord's 2010
39 Hasan Ali Pak 419* 25.16 434 v NZ at Dubai 2018


 All-rounders (top five)

Rank Player Team Pts Highest Rating
1 S. Al Hasan Ban 415 489 v Aus at Mirpur 2017
2 R. Jadeja Ind 384 438 v SL at Colombo (SSC) 2017
3 V. Philander SA 370 378 v SL at Galle 2018
4 Jason Holder Win 365/* 381 v Ind at Hyderabad 2018
5 Ben Stokes Eng 342 396 v Win at Lord's 2017


*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

For more information on player rankings, please click here.

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