Bangalore: India salvaged a draw in the third Test in Kolkata to win the three-Test series against West Indies 2-0. In doing so, India has over taken Sri Lanka to claim fifth place in the ratings. The West Indies, however, has plunged through the 1,000 ratings-point barrier to its second lowest rating in history.
India's rating began a slump from a high point of 1,061 points in March 1996. In early 2000, India's rating bottomed out at 1,006 points when South Africa inflicted their last series loss at home. Since then, India's rating has steadily been climbing. Their current rating of 1,045 points is its highest rating since March 1998. India has spent most of the last four years in sixth position in the ratings with an average of 1,025 rating points. The win over the West Indies has now lifted its rating to 1,045 points and into fifth place. The resurgence in India's rating coincides with the elevation of Saurav Ganguly to the captaincy. However, India's recent improvement under Ganguly has been hamstrung by a continuing inability to win away from home. India has a fortress like record at home. Its loss to South Africa in early 2000 was the first loss since losing to Pakistan in 1987. At the same time, India has only won away from home in a one-off Test against debutant Bangladesh in November 2000. India has not won a full Test series away from home since it defeated Sri Lanka in 1993. Prior to that, it managed a win in England in 1986. India's wins away from home have been sparse indeed. India must win overseas if it is to increase its rating and continue to climb up through the rankings. Critically, India must win away from the sub-continent. From a batting perspective, tours to Australia and South Africa have shown an inability for the Indian batsmen to cope with the bounce that such wickets provide. India's quick bowling stock is weak. Its home pitches have traditionally served quicks poorly. Spinners, as a former Indian great recently observed, don't have to work as hard as quick bowlers while getting the best assistance from the pitch. Outside of India, a team without good quick bowlers is always going to struggle. However, India's problems pale into insignificance when compared to the West Indies. The loss in India leaves the West Indies on 996 ratings points. That is its second worst rating in history and only the second time West Indies has fallen through the 1, 000-point barrier. Its worst rating of 990 points was set in 1933 after its lost in Australia in its fourth series ever. West Indies is now at risk of setting a new low in its proud history of Test cricket. Luckily, its still holds an 85 rating-point lead over ninth placed Zimbabwe. Despite the West Indians' recent record, they are unlikely to fall that far. West Indies went into the series against India without Brian Lara. In his absence, Hooper and Chanderpaul did their best with openers Gayle as well as Hinds not really contributing until the final Test. West Indies major weakness is its bowlers. Collapses in the later order batting were commonplace in the first two Tests. The team needs tailenders to be able to stick around and help the last recognised batsmen add the cream to an innings. A point in instance is Australia's tail, which could not hang around with Gilchrist. The West Indian bowlers also do not seem to be able to bowl to a steady line and length - a far cry from their great predecessors of the 1980s and early 1990s. Since the retirement of Walsh and Ambrose, none of the current crop of bowlers have stood up and seized the mantle of strike bowler. Once West Indies had lost the series and the pressure abated, the team performed far better. The third Test saw the West Indies dominate almost every session until the final day. On that final day, West Indies was unable to force home its advantage and India batted through the day for a draw. If West Indies could have played the entire series like the first four days of the final Test then the result could have been so different. The latest Test cricket ratings Courtesy: Test Cricket Ratings Service
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