Proteas need to draw the series to stay as No.1 while Australia can return to the top of the pedestal if it wins the series
Side that finishes at the top of the table on the 1 April cut-off date will receive US$450,000
South Africa’s status as the number-one ranked Test side on the Reliance ICC Test Championship Table will be at stake when it plays Australia in a three-match series in Brisbane starting on Friday 9 November 2012.
South Africa reclaimed the Reliance ICC Test Championship Mace earlier this August after it defeated the then number-one ranked England 2-0.
For South Africa to retain the number-one spot, it just needs to draw the series, while Australia can return to the top of the tree for the first time in three years if it wins the series irrespective of the margin.
South Africa currently heads the table with 120 ratings points, with England in second spot on 117 ratings points and Australia at number-three position on 116 ratings points.
The final position for the losing side in the Australia-South Africa series would be determined by the result in the India-England series that starts from 15 November.
To find out exactly how the Australia-South Africa series will affect the Championship table, please click here. The Test Championship table is updated after every series, unlike the ODI or T20I Championship tables, which are updated after every match.
Prize Money: Both Australia and South Africa have an opportunity to not just make a strong start to the season but also stake a claim to be the number-one ranked team at the 1 April 2013 cut-off date.
This would mean either side could be in line for the increased prize money on offer for the top-ranked side on the cut-off date.
A total of US $3.8m in prize money will be shared among the top four sides on 1 April 2013, 2014 and 2015, after the ICC Board approved a proposal earlier this year to substantially increase incentives in the form of prize money to promote Test cricket in the period leading up to the ICC Test Championship event in 2017.
Previously, the top team in the Reliance ICC Test rankings received a cheque for $175,000, but, from 2013, it will receive a minimum of $450,000, rising to $500,000 in 2015. From 2016 there will be further increases in Test prize money.
Captains Confident: Australia’s knowledge of the conditions and its strong track record at home means the side cannot be discounted in the battle for the number-one rank.
Australia captain Michael Clarke is excited about leading the side in the battle of the number-one. “We are excited to be playing in a series in Australia against the number one ranked Test team in the world,” he said.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith is banking on the self-confidence within the team to retain the Reliance ICC Test Championship Mace.
“Touring Australia is always tough and the battle for number-one probably makes it an even more anticipated series. We need to play good cricket if we are going to retain our number-one Test ranking. We have the self-confidence of knowing that we have the players that can step up when needed, especially after beating England away from home.
“We have earned the right to come here as the number-one Test team after the way we have played over the past few years, and there is a humble inner strength within the squad about facing up to the challenge that is on its way in the next month. A series like this is what Test cricket is all about and playing for the Mace is ultimately what all Test playing nations strive for,” added Smith..
Reliance ICC Test Player Rankings: South Africa appears to have the edge, at least in terms of having players among the top 10 in both batting and bowling of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings. It has as many as four batsmen – Hashim Amla (second), Jacques Kallis (fourth), AB de Villiers (fifth) and skipper Graeme Smith (seventh) – while Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander hold the top two bowlers’ spots, followed by Morne Morkel in ninth position.
Amla trails number-one ranked batsman Kumar Sangakkara by just 23 ratings points. A good series with the bat will provide the number-one ranked ODI batsman with an opportunity to lay claim to the number-one Test rank for the first time in his career.
In contrast, Australia’s only batsman in the top 10 is skipper Michael Clarke in sixth spot, while Mike Hussey and former captain Ricky Ponting are just inside the top 20 in 16th and 20th positions, respectively.
South Africa has three bowlers inside the top 10, with Philander trailing Steyn by just 29 ratings points, while Australia’s Ben Hilfenhaus (sixth) and Peter Siddle (seventh) will also be in action and hoping to make upward movements.
South Africa’s talismanic cricketer Jacques Kallis has an opportunity to take the number-one spot in the all-rounders’ table. Kallis, with 390 ratings points, trails number-one ranked Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh by 14 ratings points.
Australia v South Africa series schedule
9-13 Nov – 1st Test, Brisbane
22 -26 Nov – 2nd Test, Adelaide
30 Nov -4 Dec – 3rd Test, Perth
Reliance ICC Test Championship
Rank – Team – Rating
1 – South Africa – 120
2 – England – 117
3 – Australia – 116
4 – Pakistan – 109
5 – India – 106
6 – Sri Lanka – 98
7 – West Indies – 90
8 – New Zealand – 76
9 – Bangladesh – 0
(Developed by David Kendix)