Sri Lanka v India, 2nd Test, SSC, 5th day July 30, 2010

2-0 series win not enough for SL to become No. 1

Sri Lanka won't be able to displace India from the No. 1 position in the Test rankings in this series. It was earlier believed that a 2-0 series win would be enough to take Sri Lanka to the top spot.

However, the system had been misunderstood. From August 1, 2010, the rankings will cease to consider all Tests played between August 2006 and July 2007. During that period, Sri Lanka won five Tests and lost just one. Losing out on that good year takes Sri Lanka's rating points down from 115 to 111, and their current ranking from No. 4 to No. 5.

Over the same period, India won two Tests and lost two. Since their recent results have been better, they jumped from 124 rating points to 130. The best Sri Lanka can now achieve from this series is a jump to No. 2 if they win the P. Sara Test, starting Tuesday.

The ICC Test rankings run over a period ranging from three to four years. The Test table released today includes all the Test series that have been completed since August 2007, making it a three year period (for the purpose of the rankings, a year runs from August 1 to July 31).

Over the next year, all series played until July 31, 2011 will be added to this table, meaning the ratings will be based on four years of results, with series completed within the last two years carrying greater weight. However, on July 31, 2011, the oldest of the four years of results i.e. the matches played between August 2007 and July 2008, will be dropped, basing the rankings into a three-year period again.

Last week Kumar Sangakkara questioned the rankings system. "If rankings can't be understood by the public, the players, or the administrators, what's the use of having rankings?" he said. His main objection with the rankings is a lopsided FTP, which doesn't give all sides equal opportunities.

However, the prospect of becoming No. 1 excited him. He told the Sunday Island: "It's a great opportunity for us. The No. 1 ranking is something that we haven't got in the past and lot of pride is involved in the whole process of trying to achieve it."

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo