South Africa have strengthened their position as the number-one ranked Test side while India move into second position pushing down England to the third spot in the latest rankings released on Monday by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
South Africa have gained seven ratings points, lifting them to 135 ratings points - 19 ratings points clear of second-ranked India. Third-ranked England can regain No. 2 spot if they win the Ashes 3-0 or better.
South Africa extended their lead at the top of the table due to their outstanding form in the Test arena, where they have not lost a Test match for 18 months and have not lost a Test series during the entire rankings period.
In 2012-2013 (the period in which results are weighted at 100%), South Africa remained unbeaten, defeating England 2-0, Australia 1-0, New Zealand 2-0 and Pakistan 3-0.
Despite England having won their last two Test series against India, they now find themselves below Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side on account of their less consistent performances in other recent series, in particular against Pakistan (0-3), South Africa (0-2) and away to eighth-ranked New Zealand (0-0).
Also, India's two 0-4 defeats in England and Australia in 2011-12 are now only weighted at 50%, reducing their impact on India's overall rating.
Although England have dropped behind India into third spot, Alastair Cook's team can reclaim the number two spot by winning the upcoming Ashes series, starting July 10 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
England need to win by a margin of 3-0 or better to move into second place. On the other hand, if Australia regain the Ashes, they will move up a place to third, bumping England down one place to fourth.
1. South Africa 135 rating points
2. India 116
3. England 112
4. Australia 105
5. Pakistan 102
6. West Indies 99
7. Sri Lanka 88
8. New Zealand 79
9. Bangladesh 10