Australia retain first place after Sydney win

January 7th, 2009 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Jan 7 (IANS) Australia retained their No.1 ranking by winning the Sydney Test but South Africa will go top if they win the return series starting next month.Australia, however, lost the three-match Test series 2-1 against South Africa and the pressure is still on Ricky Ponting’s team as the gap at the top has been closed to just five ratings points.

It is the first time South Africa has won a Test series in Australia and it sets up a fascinating return series, the first Test of which gets underway Feb 26 in Johannesburg.

Any sort of victory in that three-match series will see the Proteas go top of the rankings.

With India very much in the ascendency there are now just eight points separating first place from third with all three teams very much in contention for the right to be called the No.1 Test side in the world.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka strengthened its hold on fourth place in the rankings following its 2-0 series win in Bangladesh. That win gave Sri Lanka another ratings point to put it within 10 of India and six ahead of England, which recently lost an away series 0-1 to India.

Pakistan is another three points further back in sixth place while the West Indies is still just ahead of New Zealand by a fraction of a point following the recent drawn series in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

1. Australia 126 rating points
2. South Africa 121
3. India 118
4. Sri Lanka 109
5. England 103
6. Pakistan 100
7. West Indies 81
8. New Zealand 81
9. Bangladesh 0

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