England have claimed the No. 1 spot for the first time under the current rankings system which has been in place since 2003, thanks to an unassailable 3-0 lead in the ongoing Test series against India at home. England, who were No. 3 at the start of the series, had to win the series by a margin of two Tests to become No. 1, and their three straight wins - all of them by big margins - have dethroned India, who reigned since December 2009.
The climb to the top received a boost in 2009 when England reclaimed the Ashes at home after suffering a series defeat to West Indies in the Caribbean. They drew a series in South Africa after that, beat Pakistan comprehensively at home and retained the Ashes with a 3-1 win in Australia in 2010-11. Prior to beating India, they won 1-0 against Sri Lanka at home. Since May 2009, they've won 19 out of the 30 Tests they've played with just four defeats and without conceding a series.
The ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat led the praises for Andrew Strauss's team. "On behalf of the ICC, I would like to congratulate Andrew Strauss, Andy Flower and the whole team for becoming the number-one ranked Test team in the world," Lorgat said in a release that was issued seconds after England's innings win at Edgbaston. "I know they were determined to be number-one and through careful planning and a series of clinical performances, they have deservedly achieved their goal. They were clearly the most consistent side in the world over the past few years."
The rankings table will be updated after the Oval Test which will end on August 22. If England win the Test, India will drop to third place - to 117 points from 119 currently, with South Africa moving to second. A win or a draw for India will keep them at No. 2. At the end of the series, England will be presented with a mace for reaching the top spot.