Dubai, Dec 16: India will start the two-Test series against South Africa on Wednesday (December 18) in Johannesburg with an aim to close the gap with the number-one ranked side on the ICC Test Team Rankings Table.
South Africa enter the series as the clear leaders with 131 ratings points, while India is in second place at 119 ratings points.
Whatever the outcome of the series, both South Africa and India are assured of retaining their pre-series ranking, ICC said in a media release.
However, if India manages to win both the Tests against South Africa, it will gain five ratings points to move up to 124, while Graeme Smith's side will drop down to 125 ratings points, thereby reducing the gap between the two teams to just one ratings point.
A 1-0 series win for India will mean a rise of four ratings points to 123, while South Africa will end at 126 ratings points. A 1-1 or 0-0 series draw will mean India gains one ratings point to move up to 120, while South Africa will move down to 130.
On the other hand, a 1-0 series win for South Africa will see India concede two ratings points, while a 2-0 series win will mean a loss of three ratings points for MS Dhoni's side.
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.