ICC news January 16, 2016

SA dethroned, India No. 1 Test team

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Africa slip to No. 3 in the Test rankings, while England rise to No. 5 © Getty Images

South Africa's 0-2 defeat in their home series against England has pushed them off the top of the ICC Test Rankings. Now India, with 110 rating points, are at No. 1, with Australia one rating point shy in second place.

It has been over a year since South Africa last won a Test match and that was against the eighth-ranked West Indies. Even if they beat England in the fourth Test in Centurion, they won't be able to improve on their current third position. Since January 2015, South Africa have lost five out of nine games, besides accumulating four draws.

England, by virtue of winning away from home, are in fifth place. They played out a highly entertaining drawn series against New Zealand at the start of the summer, then regained the Ashes with their fast bowlers putting in a strong display, but suffered a 0-2 defeat to Pakistan in the UAE. England have the opportunity to redress that scoreline when Pakistan come to their shores in July 2016 for a four-Test series. England's next assignment in Tests though will be the three matches against Sri Lanka in May.

India, who beat South Africa 3-0 in December, have claimed the top spot for the first time since 2011. But they might not hold it for long. Australia are scheduled to play two Tests against New Zealand (ranked sixth) in February 2016 and will go top of the table if they win 1-0.

Virat Kohli and his men have enjoyed a fine season of Test cricket in the subcontinent. They broke a four-year drought without an overseas series win in Sri Lanka, coming from behind to beat the hosts 2-1 and then spun the South Africans out at home. The 337-run victory in the Delhi Test was India's largest in terms of runs in their 83-year Test history.

Australia, under Steven Smith, have been just as prolific. They sealed the Frank Worrell Trophy in seven days, prior to which they won the inaugural Day-Night Test to cap off a 2-0 victory over New Zealand.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fiona on January 20, 2016, 19:38 GMT

    I have paid good money to see India in tests in England twice in recent times and they have been a phenomenal disgrace, are we seriously saying they are the best at this format???

  • Friend on January 19, 2016, 6:35 GMT

    Mr.Protea92, Vaidya is right. S Africa have lost 4 home series since 2001. India have lost only 2. To put that in perspective, Oz have lost 3 series and England have lost 5. So India have the best home record. Which is as good as or better than S Africa's away record. So just because they have a better away record, they cannot be better than India who have a formidable home record. Forget about series wins, India rarely lose home tests. Since 2000, England havevwon 3 tests, Oz and S Africa have won 2 each. No other team has come close to winning a test in India. Your lot even lost a test to Lanka at home.

  • Subash on January 19, 2016, 5:00 GMT

    Well India beat SL in SL but The Ind vs SA series was total rubbish. I get that home conditions should favor the home team. But the state of pitches against the SA series was shocking. To create a pitch where the 1st day pitches acted like 4th day pitch is a complete abomination. And please don't give me that oh away teams can't play spin at all logic. You can't prepare a pitch where even part time spinners turn and bounce the pitch as if they were warne or murali. I don't see india playing in away pitches where even Ravi bopara can take 3 wickets if he bowls 10 overs. I don't see BA/SL/UAE preparing rank turners. Sure the wicket is spin friendly but it doesn't act like a minefield from the 1st day.

  • Rob on January 19, 2016, 3:29 GMT

    SUNILVAIDYA: South Africa only lost 2 test series at home in the past 8 years- BOTH to Australia. You are clueless.

  • Michael on January 18, 2016, 23:32 GMT

    @diri: If you can remember back that far, the same thing happened to Australia. They dominated everywhere (except India, where they only won one series) from 1996-2007 and then dropped back to fifth after losing that dominance. It's really hard to argue that SA should be number one because they dominated for 5 years, when they haven't won a Test in a year and lost over half their matches. The last year has been anything but the performance of a No 1 ranked side.

  • disco on January 18, 2016, 23:17 GMT

    Considering that home/away games in cricket have a greater disparity than any other sport in terms of home advantage and difficulty, it is preposterous that the points awarded do not reflect this. It is even more absurd when one reflect upon the complex mathematical equations used for D/L.

  • Rob on January 18, 2016, 21:48 GMT

    It's been a great decade-long run with a team of world class players. I would rank this SA team as the third greatest team/era since WW2. 1) Australia 1995-2007. 2) Windies(late 70's to early 90's) and 3) South Africa(2006-2015). I include South Africa because they went 9 years unbeaten AWAY - a feat never achieved in test history.

  • rob on January 18, 2016, 21:27 GMT

    This idea of awarding weight to away wins might sound good but I think it's a horrible, horrible idea that would quickly turn into an absolute nightmare. I'm not saying it couldn't work because it probably could but there are a couple of things that really worry me. Firstly, if you think the home team advantage is slowly strangling cricket now, just wait and see what would happen if you start awarding extra points to the visitors. There won't be a test pitch on the planet that hasn't got it's own personal 'doctor'. Then, of course, there is all the bitching and fighting that would ensue. Some examples : Aus winning in SA. "but SA pitches are too much like Aussie ones". Eng winning in NZ, Ditto. Ind winning in SL. The same. Before long there will be calls to weight the weightings. "Oz winning in SA should be worth less than Eng. winning in India" and so forth. .. The current system might look wrong but imo it's exactly right. It's tough but impeccably fair.

  • sunil on January 18, 2016, 21:17 GMT

    heheee...sa a great test side because they did not lose an away series for 7 or 8 years? then what about the SA's 16 test losses in their last 49 tests at home?

    If other sides lose away more often and win at home most of the time...the SA though they did not lose series away lost test after tests at home...

    if away wins or no series loss deserve more points then does not losing more often at home deserve that they lose more points?

    if some people want to say SA should get more points for not losing test series away...then i would say that they should lose even more points for losing so many tests and series at home..

  • ABDUL on January 18, 2016, 21:04 GMT

    The ICC ranking system is off base because the itinerary of international tours is grossly flawed. The last time Sri Lanka played a test match in India was all but 7 years ago, the last time Pakistan played a test match in Australia was also over 6 years ago. So the time period for awarding rating points is often skewed at times overweighing the string of tours to the same countries and the same opponents. Why does the ICC not come up with a tour schedule in which each team has played test match in all the other test-playing nations between two 50 over world cups. Easy to chart it out. Each team would play another not before 2 years once at home another at the opponent's home. No tours should be made without test matches on the roster. So no waste of money in having to travel once for playing ODIs and T20s and again for playing tests. Like the ongoing IND-AUS series. This way, the ranking system would truly represent the levels of the teams.

  • No featured comments at the moment.