Lagging behind by just a fraction of a ratings point before the series began, the South Africa always had the chance to take back the number-two spot that India had snatched from them by beating Australia 2-0 in the four-Test series in October-November.
However, India has chance to reclaim it's lost ground if they win the upcoming two-Test series against England, who, however, are yet to confirm their visit to the sub-continent in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.
Needing to win both matches, in Bloemfontein and Centurion, South Africa emerged victorious in both matches by a considerable margin. However, they were still 13 points adrift of Australia in first place as Ricky Ponting's team gained a point for its 2-0 series win over New Zealand which concluded in Adelaide on Monday.
Meanwhile, New Zealand slipped below the West Indies to eighth following its defeat to Australia. The Kiwis were just one rating point ahead of the West Indies before the series but defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide meant they lost that slender lead and fall to eighth by a fraction of a point.
However, the good news for Daniel Vettori and his team is that they have an immediate opportunity to regain their spot when they host the West Indies for a two-Test series later this month.