Indian cricket team retains No.1 spot in ICC Test rankings, SA hot on heels
Indian cricket team has remained No 1 in Tests in the latest ICC rankings following a magnificent 2016/17 summer in which they went unbeaten in a Test series. However, South Africa, who are at No 2, have reduced the advantage to just six points
India have retained the No 1 ranking in Tests after a magnificent performance in the last couple of seasons. South Africa are in second position but have cut down the deficit. In the latest rankings released by the ICC, India are on top with 123 points, followed by South Africa with 117 and Australia with 100 points.
Virat Kohli’s side enjoyed a magnificent 2016/17 season at home in which they secured series wins over New Zealand, England and Australia and claimed the one-off Test against Bangladesh. This extended the winning streak for India as they had secured series wins in Sri Lanka and the West Indies and beaten South Africa at home. The 2-1 series win over Australia gave Kohli’s side the unique distinction of holding bilateral series wins over all Test playing nations.
Before the rankings were released, the gap between India and South Africa was 13 points. However, the deficit has been trimmed to six points. The annual update this time took into account several factors. The series results from 2013-14 were no longer included while outcome from the 2015-16 series had a weightage of 50 percent in the points calculation.
Australia and England slide
While South Africa and India are locked in a tussle for top spot, Australia have slipped eight points to fall 23 points behind India.
Steve Smith’s team have endured a terrible run in away conditions, losing 3-0 to Sri Lanka in 2016 while losing a tight series in India 1-2. England also dropped a couple of points after suffering their first loss to Bangladesh, and losing 0-4 to India in 2016/17.
Top spot up for grabs
Following the Champions Trophy, the tussle to regain the top spot in Tests will heat up. South Africa will play four Tests against England while India have a Test series against Sri Lanka only in August. However, from 2017 till the end of 2018, India play Test series in South Africa, England and Australia which could impact their ranking.
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