Graeme Smith will look rectify South Africa’s poor record against Australia at home © Getty Images
Dubai: Feb 10, 2014
Australia enters the three-Test series against host South Africa with one eye on claiming second place on the Reliance International Cricket Council(ICC) Test Team Rankings. South Africa is the clear leader on the table with 133 ratings points, while Australia currently sits in third position with 111 ratings points. South Africa will retain the number-one position on the table irrespective of the outcome of the series.
However, there will be a keen tussle between India and Australia for second position. With second-ranked India losing the first Test in its ongoing two-Test series against New Zealand, Australia’s chance to move ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men has brightened. Australia will move into second position if it wins the series, irrespective of the result in the second Test between India and New Zealand in Wellington, starting from 14 February.
In case India does not win the second Test, Australia needs only to draw the series to move into second place. However, if Australia was to lose the series, then there will be no change of positions on the table.
The Test Ranking Table, unlike the One Day International(ODI) and T20I Rankings tables, are updated after every series. South Africa and Australia will start off their three-Test series at Centurion with as many as five of the top 10 bowlers on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers likely to be seen in action.
Leading the way is South Africa’s pace duo of Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn, ranked as the top two bowlers. Australia’s pace trio of Ryan Harris (third), Peter Siddle (fifth) and Mitchell Johnson (ninth) are the others inside the top 10 likely to play the series. The other two bowlers inside the top 20 likely to be in action are Morne Morkel (13th) and Nathan Lyon (19th).
Meanwhile, AB de Villiers starts the series as the number-one ranked batsman on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen. Hashim Amla in fourth is the other South Africa batsman likely to be seen in action during the series.
Rival captains Michael Clarke (eighth) and Grame Smith (ninth) are the other batsmen inside the top 10. The only other batsmen inside the top 20 likely to feature in the series are Australia openers Chris Rogers (14th) and David Warner (15th).