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12 Mar 2012 07:31
England will remain the world’s top-ranked Test team after South Africa could only manage a draw in the opening Test of their New Zealand tour, the International Cricket Council said on Monday.
England’s lead in the rankings was slashed to a single point after their 3-0 whitewash by Pakistan, giving the Proteas the chance to take the number one spot with a clean sweep in the three-Test series in New Zealand.
But South Africa’s hopes were dashed when the final day of the first Test against the Black Caps on Sunday was rained out and the match ended in a draw, meaning England will retain top spot when the new rankings come out next month.
The ICC said it was the first time since the rankings began in 2003 that England had held the number one spot on the April 1 cut-off date and they would receive a $175 000 cheque for their achievement.
Andrew Strauss’ men will end the rankings period on 118 points, one ahead of the Proteas, who are currently on 117, ahead of India and Australia on 111 each.
South Africa are favourites to take second place and a $75 000 cheque but could slip to 108 points if a worst-case scenario unfolds in New Zealand and they lose the two remaining Tests to the Black Caps.—Sapa-AFP
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