The battle for second place on the Reliance ICC Test Championship Table is still a three-way race between England, Australia and India. This is despite the fact that England was held to a draw by New Zealand in Dunedin and India leads Australia 2-0 in the four-Test series.
The three sides are currently separated by 13 ratings points on the Championship table which will be updated at the conclusion of India-Australia and New Zealand-England Test series on 26 March and will also reflect results from West Indies-Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka-Bangladesh series.
England’s hard-fought draw means it still needs to win the series against New Zealand to seal second place. However, if New Zealand draws or wins the series against England, it could potentially the door for both Australia and India.
If New Zealand wins or draws the series, then India will claim the second spot if it wins the remaining two Tests against Australia. On the other side of the coin, if New Zealand wins or draws the series and Michael Clarke’s side bounces back to level the series then Australia will move ahead of England in second spot.
South Africa has already sealed its position as the number-one ranked Test side at the 1 April cut-off date, which means it has not only retained the Test mace but has also been assured of a reward of US$450,000.
But a further US$750,000 is still up for grabs. This money will be distributed to teams that will finish second (US$350,000), third (US$250,000) and fourth (US$150,000) on the Championship table at the cut-off date.
The increased incentive in the form of prize money was approved by the ICC Board in 2012 and was aimed to promote Test cricket in the period before the ICC Test Championship event in 2017.
To find out exactly how the forthcoming series will affect the Championship Table, please click here. The Test Championship table is updated after every series, unlike the ODI or T20I Championship tables, which are updated after every match.
Mushfiqur leads Bangladesh charge
Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s first double centurion in Test cricket, captain Mushfiqur Rahim, leads the charge in the latest Reliance ICC Test Player Rankings, which were released on Wednesday.
Mushfiqur Rahim has jumped five places to 36th position in the batting list after slamming 200 in Bangladesh’s first draw against Sri Lanka in Test cricket, at Galle.
Of the other Bangladesh centurions in the Galle Test, Nasir Hossain has jumped nine places to 44th, while Mohammad Ashraful has re-entered the rankings in 63rd position.
Other centurions in the Galle Test, Tillakaratne Dilshan in 28th (up by one), Dinesh Chandimal in 40th (up by seven) and Lahiru Thirimanne in 76th (up by 11) have also gained in the latest rankings.
Kumar Sangakkara, who slammed a century in each innings (142 and 105), has stayed in fifth position but has narrowed the gap with Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies and South Africa’s AB de Villiers who are jointly occupying third position.
The latest rankings also include changes post the Dunedin Test between New Zealand and England.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has jumped four places to 26th, home side’s debutant centurion Hamish Rutherford has entered in 58th position, while England’s Nick Compton has risen 13 places to 70th thanks to his maiden century.
The batting table is still headed by South Africa’s Hashim Amla with Australia captain Michael Clarke in second place.
In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, New Zealand’s Neil Wagner, with a match haul of seven for 183, has jumped 30 places to 69th in what was the most impressive movement in the table.
The bowlers’ table is still headed by South Africa’s Dale Steyn with his teammate Vernon Philander in second place and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal in third place.