England have a lot to play for

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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 England could replace South Africa in second place in the official ICC Test Championship if they can achieve a crushing series win in the npower Test series starting in Birmingham on Thursday 24 July. The five-Test series will be the first to count towards the official Test ratings after they are updated on 1 August and a strong performance here combined with the removal of poor results from more than three years ago could give England a real boost. The ICC Test Championship is updated every July to ensure that the table reflects the current form of all teams. This update sees the results of series completed more than three years ago removed from the ratings calculations. England, which will have a new rating of 101 after the update, will need to beat South Africa either 4-0 or 5-0 to climb from fourth to second. A series victory by any smaller margin will, however, still be enough to move England into third place ahead of New Zealand. South Africa's rating has received the biggest boost of any team from the update process. Their increase of four points up to 119 is largely because the back-to-back heavy defeats to Australia in the 2001-02 season now have a reduced significance in the ratings calculation because of the time since the matches were played. Even so, a 5-0 whitewash of England would not be enough for them to overhaul Australia's current rating - unless Australia loses to Bangladesh next week - but a comfortable victory would put them back within striking distance of top spot.
The ICC Test Championship table following the annual update process on 1 August 2003 will be:
(pre-update pos in brackets)
TeamRatingRating Change
1 [1]Australia129*0
2 [2]South Africa119+4
3 [3]New Zealand106+3
4 [4]England101+3
5 [6]India94+3
6 [5]Sri Lanka91-6
7 [7]Pakistan90-1
8 [8]West Indies83+1
9 [9]Zimbabwe580
10 [10]Bangladesh2*2

* The ratings shown for Australia and Bangladesh are provisional and may change prior to 1 August to take account of the result of their current two Test series. If Australia win the second Test of the series the ratings will be 129 for Australia and 2 for Bangladesh, a draw will produce respective ratings of 127 and 4 while a Bangladesh win will put the teams on 124 and 9. Developed by David Kendix. Full scenarios for England vs South Africa npower Test series:

Rating EnglandSouth Africa
Current rating (post-update) 101109
New rating if:
--England wins by 5 Tests (5-0)112107
--England wins by 4 Tests (4-0)110109
--England wins by 3 Tests (4-1, 3-0)109110
--England wins by 2 Tests (3-1, 2-0)108111
--England wins by 5 Tests (5-0)112107
--England wins by 1 Test (3-2, 2-1, 1-0) 106113
--Series tied (0-0, 1-1, 2-2)104116
-South Africa wins by 1 Test (3-2, 2-1, 1-0)101119
--South Africa wins by 2 Tests (2-0)100120
--South Africa wins by 3 Tests (4-1, 3-0)98122
--South Africa wins by 4 Tests (4-0)97123
--South Africa wins by 5 Tests (5-0)96125

The only positional move resulting from the 2003 update is that India move above Sri Lanka into fifth place. India's climb to fifth is largely due to the dropping of heavy series defeats to Australia and South Africa from the calculation period. Sri Lanka's rating has fallen because of a poor run of results in the last 12 months and a reduction in the significance of their performances in an outstanding 2001-02 season which included nine successive Test victories in the rating calculations. Like England, New Zealand have climbed by three points. In New Zealand's case this can be attributed to a gradual improvement over the last three years. Australia's position is virtually unchanged as the reduced weighting of the victories over South Africa is off-set by equally strong recent form that saw it win 10 out of 12 Tests up to the start of the Bangladesh series. Each year the ICC Test Championship table is updated to reflect the current form of each team. Results of matches more than three years old are dropped from the ratings calculations each July to ensure that the ratings reflect up-to-date performance. Ratings are rounded to the nearest whole number but, in the event of two or more teams being tied, for positional purposes the ratings calculation is refined to three decimal places to determine the higher ranked team. International Cricket Council
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