England eye improvement in Test team rankings, India stay at top

Joe RootFourth-ranked England will aim to improve its position on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings when it takes on second-ranked South Africa in a four-Test series starting at Lord’s on Thursday, 6 July.

England is presently sitting on 99 points as compared to South Africa’s 117 points. To move ahead of Australia in third place, England will need to win the series by 1-0 or better, while a 4-0 win will put it in second place on 108 points – 15 points behind number-one ranked India.

In contrast, South Africa, which presently trails India by six points, can narrow the gap with India to just one point but to make it happen, it will have to win all the four Tests. On the other side of the coin, if the Proteas side loses all four Tests, then it will drop to third on 106 points.

On a head to head, England will start the series as the favourite as it enjoys a 58-32 advantage over South Africa with 55 Tests ending in draws. In England, the two sides have played 64 Tests, out of which England has won 27 and South Africa 13, with 24 Tests ending in draws. That said, South Africa enjoys a 6-3 advantage over England in England this decade with three matches ending in draws.

The Test team rankings, unlike the ODI and T20I rankings, are updated after the end of the series and the Test predictor function is available here.

Joe Root in his debut series as England captain, will start as the highest-ranked batsman from either side in third place Joe Root in his debut series as England captain, will start as the highest-ranked batsman from either side in third place.

Meanwhile, Joe Root in his debut series as England captain, will start as the highest-ranked batsman from either side in third place on the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsman.

Root is 32 points behind second ranked Kane Williamson, but a strong performance in the Lord’s Test can potentially move him ahead of his New Zealand opposite number. In contrast, his South Africa counterpart, Dean Elgar, who will captain in place of Faf du Plessis, will begin in 19th position and can move up the order depending how he performs at Lord’s.

Apart from the two captains, both the sides boast two batsmen each inside the top 20. For England, Jonny Bairstow is ranked 11th and Alistair Cook is 13th, while Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla of South Africa are ranked sixth and ninth respectively.

Outside the top 20 and aiming to improve their rankings are Moeen Ali (24th), Ben Stokes (36th), JP Duminy (38th) and Temba Bavuma (45th).

In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, England’s James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and Kagiso Rabada of South Africa will start in fifth, sixth and seventh places, respectively. The three speedsters are separated by 12 points and will aim to finish inside the top three by the time the series concludes in Manchester on 8 August.

South Africa, which presently trails India by six points, can narrow the gap with India to just one point South Africa, which presently trails India by six points, can narrow the gap with India to just one point
Three spinners lead the bowling table, with Ravindra Jadeja at the top and followed by Ravichandran Ashwin and Rangana Herath. Australia’s Josh Hazlewood is fourth, 16 points ahead of Anderson.

Bowlers outside the top 10 are Vernon Philander (11th), Morne Morkel (14th), Stokes (20th), Chris Woakes (25th) and Moeen Ali (28th) and Keshav Maharaj (38th).

England’s Stokes is the fourth-ranked all-rounder in the list which is headed by Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan. South Africa’s highest-ranked all-rounder is Duminy in 13th place.

Series schedule:

6-10 July – 1st Test, Lord’s

14-18 July – 2nd Test, Trent Bridge

27-31 July – 3rd Test, The Oval

4-8 Aug – 4th Test, Old Trafford

MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings (as on 5 July, before the start of England v South Africa Test series):

Rank    Team               Points

1          India                 123

2          South Africa       117

3          Australia            100

4          England              99

5          New Zealand       97

6          Pakistan             93

7          Sri Lanka            91

8          West Indies        75

9          Bangladesh         69

10        Zimbabwe           00

(By David Kendix)

MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 5 July, before the start of England v South Africa Test series):

BATSMEN (top 20)

Rank    Player              Team      Points      Avge        Highest Rating

   1         Steve Smith         Aus        941!      61.05    941 v Ind at Dharamsala 2017

   2         Kane Williamson  NZ          880        51.16    893 v Aus at Perth 2015

   3         Joe Root              Eng        848        52.80    917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015

   4         C. Pujara              Ind         846        51.32    861 v Aus at Ranchi 2017

   5         Virat Kohli            Ind         818        49.41    895 v Ban at Hyderabad 2017

   6         Quinton de Kock  SA          802*!     51.26    802 v NZ at Hamilton 2017

   7         Azhar Ali              Pak        769        46.86    787 v Aus at Melbourne 2016

   8         David Warner       Aus        759        47.42    880 v NZ at Perth 2015

   9         Hashim Amla       SA          748        49.39    907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013

  10        Lokesh Rahul       Ind         739*!     44.44    739 v Aus at Dharamsala 2017

  11        Jonny Bairstow    Eng        731        41.27    759 v Ind at Mohali 2016

  12        Ajinkya Rahane    Ind         726        46.07    825 v NZ at Indore 2016

  13        Alastair Cook       Eng        720        46.45    874 v Ind at Kolkata 2012

  14        Usman Khawaja   Aus        718        47.94    747 v Pak at Sydney 2017

  15        Ross Taylor          NZ          705        47.10    871 v WI at Hamilton 2013

  16        Faf du Plessis      SA          690        44.92    710 v WI at Port Elizabeth 2014

  17        Angelo Mathews  SL          688        46.08    877 v NZ at Christchurch 2014

  18        Shakib Al Hasan  Ban        676!      40.92    676 v SL at Colombo (PSS) 2017

  19        Dean Elgar           SA          669        39.25    740 v NZ at Dunedin 2017

  20        Tamim Iqbal         Ban        654        39.53    707 v Eng at Old Trafford 2010 

BOWLERS (top 20)

Rank    Player              Team     Points        Avge          Highest Rating

   1         Ravindra Jadeja   Ind         898       23.12    899 v Aus at Ranchi 2017

   2         R. Ashwin             Ind        865      25.22    904 v Eng at Mumbai 2016

   3         Rangana Herath   SL          854        27.87    867 v Zim at Harare 2016

   4         Josh Hazlewood  Aus        826         25.39    863 v Ind at Bengaluru 2017

   5         James Anderson  Eng        810        28.50    884 v SL at Durham 2016

   6         Stuart Broad         Eng        803       28.54    880 v SA at Johannesburg 2016

   7         Kagiso Rabada    SA          798*       23.69    821 v SL at Johannesburg 2017

   8         Dale Steyn           SA          794        22.30    909 v WI at Centurion 2014

   9         Neil Wagner         NZ          745        28.90    767 v SA at Dunedin 2017

  10        Mitchell Starc       Aus        742         28.35    805 v Pak at Brisbane 2016

  11        Vernon Philander SA          738         22.39    912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013

  12        Trent Boult           NZ          732       28.75    825 v Eng at Lord's 2015

  13        Yasir Shah           Pak        698         29.91    878 v Eng at Lord's 2016

  14        Morne Morkel       SA          693        29.21    776 v Aus at Cape Town 2011

  15        Tim Southee        NZ          687        31.55    799 v WI at Jamaica 2014

  16        Dilruwan Perera   SL          652*      28.58    674 v Zim at Harare 2016

  17        Nathan Lyon        Aus        644        33.39    696 v NZ at Wellington 2016

  18        Shakib Al Hasan  Ban        638        33.02    700 v Zim at Khulna 2014

  19        Shannon Gabriel  WI          588*      33.59    600 v Pak at Barbados 2017

  20        Ben Stokes          Eng        576*      34.46    589 v Ind at Mohali 2016

Rank    Player              Team     Points           Highest Rating

   1         Shakib Al Hasan  Ban        431       443 v NZ at Christchurch 2017

   2         Ravindra Jadeja   Ind         422!      422 v Aus at Dharamsala 2017

   3         R. Ashwin             Ind         413       493 v Eng at Mohali 2016

   4         Ben Stokes          Eng        327 /*    351 v Ind at Mohali 2016

   5         Mitchell Starc       Aus        318       347 v Ind at Pune 2017