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Win can lift India to top 3 Test nations

A clean sweep for the hosts would mean Pakistan slipping below New Zealand, who currently occupy seventh spot on the ladder.

cricket Updated: Nov 21, 2007 22:21 IST

A convincing series triumph over Pakistan in the three-Test cricket series starting on Thursday would take India to third spot in the ICC Test championship table.

A 3-0 or 2-0 series win over their arch rivals will lift Anil Kumble's team above South Africa to third place behind Australia and England, providing a boost in morale before the tough tour Down Under.

India are currently fourth on the charts and a good home series can improve their ranking and put them in touching distance of second-placed England, who start a three-Test series of their own in Sri Lanka on December 1.

India has 107 rating points and a 3-0 series win would lift it to 112 points, just one behind England. A 2-0 win would raise India's tally to 110 points, still enough to lift it above South Africa, who currently have 109.

A clean sweep for the hosts would mean Pakistan slipping below New Zealand, who currently occupies seventh spot on the ladder.

However, if Pakistan manages to turn the tables and win 2-0 or 3-0, they will be lifted to fifth place, one spot above India.

India has three bowlers in the top 20 with new Test captain Anil Kumble in seventh position. Zaheer Khan is 11th while fellow left-armer Irfan Pathan comes in at 19th spot.

Pakistan will be looking to their bowlers in the series as they have four of them in the top 20. Shoaib Akhtar (10th), Danish Kaneria (14th) and Umar Gul (20th) are in elite company along with Mohammad Asif (17th), who misses the tour due to injury.

The visitors have two batsmen in the top 10 - Mohammad Yousuf (fourth) and Younus Khan (seventh). India's highest ranked players are former skipper Rahul Dravid, in 11th position and Sachin Tendulkar, who lies 18th.

Meanwhile, Australia strengthened its lead at the top to 32 rating points after a 2-0 series success over Sri Lanka.

The batting list is headed by Australian captain Ricky Ponting who is just one rating point clear of Jacques Kallis of South Africa, with Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, who smashed 192 at Hobart, in third position.

There are as many as four Aussies in the top 10 with Michael Hussey (fifth), Matthew Hayden (eighth) and Michael Clarke (10th) being the others.

Muttiah Muralitharan is at the top of the bowlers' charts, clear of the South Africa pace duo of Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn, the latter rising five places after taking 20 wickets in two Tests against New Zealand.
Australia's pace spearhead is also on the charge, claiming 16 wickets against Sri Lanka which took him to fifth spot, a rise of three notches.