Riding on the 4-0 Ashes triumph and the 1-0 series victory against Pakistan in the sub-continent, Australia have strengthened their claim as being the best team in the world after extending their lead at the top of the ICC Men’s Test Team Rankings.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) released their annual update of the rankings on Wednesday and Australia now lead second-placed India by nine points with a rating of 128 points.
The new rankings reflect all Test series completed since May 2019, with those completed prior to May 2021 weighted at 50 per cent and subsequent series weighted at 100 per cent.
India, who are second on the list, have 119 points, followed by New Zealand (111), South Africa (110).
It is a well-deserved mark for Australia Test skipper Pat Cummins, who most recently claimed a 1-0 series triumph over Pakistan to ensure they remain at the top of the rankings and the World Test Championship.
South Africa have closed the gap on New Zealand from 13 to the solitary point on the latest rankings, following a jump in their rating from 102 to 110 points. Rounding out the top-five is Pakistan with 93 points, with Babar Azam’s side going past England (88) to take the fifth place.
England fell nine points from 97 to 88 in the latest rankings, with new skipper Ben Stokes taking over a Test side that has won just one Test match in the last 12 months.
“That new rating is the lowest mark England have dropped to since 1995, with their 4-1 series victory over India in 2018 now dropping from the rankings,” according to ICC.
However their rating could still improve over the coming months, with their postponed Test against India from last year to be held at Edgbaston in July, and the result of that match will be included in their current rating.
“The rankings contain 10 teams, with Afghanistan and Ireland yet to play enough Tests to be included,” according to ICC.