Drawn Aus v NZ Series Sets Up Championship Showdown with South Africa
Outright leadership of the ICC Test Championship will be at stake in the forthcoming Test series between Australia and South Africa.
Australia's drawn series with New Zealand, confirmed by today's compelling conclusion in Perth, strips the champion team of a point. This reduces its series points average from an unassailable 1.62 to 1.54, fractionally ahead of South Africa's 1.50.
This means Australia has to win the three match series starting in Adelaide on Friday 14th December, to maintain its table-topping position. Any other result would see Shaun Pollock's team claim top spot for the first time since the Championship was officially launched in May this year.
Australia won both corresponding home and away series with South Africa four years ago, which is why anything less than a repeat of those performances will see it lose the official position as the best Test side in world cricket.
A drawn series would take South Africa to the top of the table with a 1.56 series points average over Australia's 1.46.
A win for Pollock's team would open up a significant gap of 1.62 against Australia's 1.38 points.
ICC Test Championship Table, 4th December 2001
Team Played Won Lost Drawn Points Average Australia 13 9 2 2 20 1.54 South Africa 16 11 3 2 24 1.50 England 14 7 5 2 16 1.14 Sri Lanka 14 7 5 2 16 1.14 New Zealand 15 6 6 3 15 1.00 West Indies 14 6 7 1 13 0.93 Pakistan 15 3 7 5 11 0.73 India 13 3 7 3 9 0.69 Zimbabwe 15 2 11 2 6 0.40 Bangladesh 1 0 1 0 0 -
Sri Lanka and New Zealand Moving Up
Elsewhere in a busy schedule of Test cricket Sri Lanka's historic 3 -0 win against the West Indies has moved it up to share equal third place with England on the Test Championship table. The result is the first time in its Test history that Sri Lanka has achieved a series clean sweep.
New Zealand is another team moving up the ladder after holding Australia to a 0 -0 drawn series. This result now replaces the 2 -0 win for Steve Waugh's team in the last encounter in 1997/98, adding a point to the Kiwis' total. It now has 15 points from 15 series and an average of 1.00, moving it ahead of the West Indies, who drop from fifth to sixth place.
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