Australia reclaim No.1 Test spot, India second

Mumbai, Feb 24 (IANS) India have finished second in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Championship, while Australia took the top spot after winning the Christchurch Test by seven wickets, which has given them a 2-0 series win against New Zealand.

Australia won a cash award of $1 million while India will collect $500,000. South Africa will pocket $200,000 and Pakistan $100,000 after claiming the third and fourth positions, respectively.

According to an ICC statement on Wednesday, the win against New Zealand in the last Test helped Australia finish two points ahead of India on 112 points in the final series before the April 1 cut-off date.

Steve Smith will receive the ICC Test mace and the cash award on behalf of his team in a ceremony to be held at a later date.

This is the eighth time Australia have finished as the number one ranked Test side at the annual cut-off date since the inception of the current rankings system in 2003.

They had earlier topped the table each year from 2003 to 2009, before India claimed number one spots in 2010 and 2011. England ended as the number one ranked side in 2012 before South Africa completed a hat-trick by retaining the top spot from 2013 to 2015.

It is a double delight for Smith’s men who had earlier topped the ICC One-Day International (ODI) team rankings at the annual cut-off date. They had finished comfortably ahead of second-placed New Zealand, followed by India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and England.

On the ICC Twenty20 International team rankings, India lead the field with South Africa occupying second position following its 2-0 win over England. The two are followed by the West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, England and Australia.

A shuffling of the pack is on the cards as a lot of cricket in the shortest format of the game is still to be played before the April 1 cut-off date. While the main round of the Asia Cup T20 will be played from February 24 to March 6 in Mirpur, the ICC World T20 India 2016 will be staged from March 8 to April 3.

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