South Africa’s 10 wickets victory over India in the second and final Test in Durban on Monday has allowed it to extend its lead as the number-one ranked side on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings Table.

The 1-0 series win has helped South Africa gain two ratings points to finish on 133, while India has conceded two ratings points to end at 117. This means the gap between the two top ranked sides has now increased from 12 ratings points to 16 ratings points.

Meanwhile, Australia has an opportunity to finish third on the Test team rankings table.

Australia had entered the Ashes series in fifth position on 101 ratings points, but after taking a 4-0 lead against England, it is guaranteed fourth position on the table. And Michael Clarke’s side will gain one more place if it remains unbeaten in the Sydney Test, which starts on Friday, 3 January.

If the Sydney Test ends in a draw, then Australia will move to 109 ratings points – one ahead of England, which will drop from 116 to 108 ratings points. However, if Australia win the Sydney Test, then it will finish on 111 ratings points while England will slip to 107 ratings points – just five ratings points ahead of Pakistan, which goes head to head with Sri Lanka in a three-Test series from Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.

The only way England can defend its third position on the table is by winning the Sydney Test. In this scenario, England will end on 109 ratings points while Australia will finish on 108 ratings points.

Pakistan, which will slip to fifth irrespective of how the Ashes conclude, can keep the pressure on Australia and England if it wins the series against Sri Lanka.

If Pakistan wins 2-0, then it will move from 102 ratings points to 105 ratings points, while it will finish on 107 if it wins all the three Tests.

On the other side of the coin, Sri Lanka has a chance to move ahead of Pakistan if it wins the series 2-0 or better. If it wins 2-0, it will jump from 88 ratings points to 95 ratings points while Pakistan will slip from 102 ratings points to 94 ratings points.

With the top four sides as of 31 December 2016 qualifying for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship scheduled for 2017, every Test counts towards the qualification. Hence in the coming weeks, all eyes will be on possible changes expected from third to sixth position on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings Table

About ICC World Test Championship
The inaugural ICC World Test Championship (ICC WTC) will be hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2017.

The qualification pathway for the ICC World Test Championship is through the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings, with the qualifying period being from 1 May 2013 to 31 December 2016.

The top four teams at the conclusion of the qualification period will qualify for the event in 2017.  The results of all Test series ending after 1 May 2013, and the results of all Test series starting before 31 December 2016, will be included in the period that determine qualification for the ICC WTC.

Forthcoming Tests
Pakistan v Sri Lanka
31 Dec-4 Jan – First Test Abu Dhabi
8-12 Jan – Second Test, Dubai
16-20 Jan – Third Test, Sharjah

Australia v England
3-7 Jan – Fifth Test, Sydney

Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings table (as on 30 December, after the South Africa v India series)

Rank   (+/-)  Team                          Rating     (+/-)

1          (-)     South Africa               133             (+2)

2          (-)     India                            117             (-2)

3                   England                       116

4                   Pakistan                      102

5                   Australia                     101

6                   Sri Lanka                      88

7                   West Indies                  88

8                   New Zealand               75

9                   Zimbabwe                   34

10                 Bangladesh                 18

(Developed by David Kendix)