India could not beat Australia at home and become the number one ODI team but Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men now have the chance to top the Test chart, provided they can beat Sri Lanka 2-0 at home in the three-match series starting on Monday.
With only three ratings points separating first-placed South Africa (122) from third spot holder India (119) in the ICC Test Championship table, Dhoni and his men will need a 2-0 victory or better to topple the Proteas from the top with 124 rating points.
India’s 2-0 win will also ensure that second place holder Sri Lanka drop to the fourth position behind Australia on 115 ratings points.
However, Sri Lanka also has a chance to claim the coveted number one position and the equation for the Island nation is far more easier than India. Kumar Sangakkara and his men simply need to win the series to climb to the top of the table.
A 1-0 or 2-1 win will not only take Sri Lanka to 123 ratings points – one ahead of South Africa – but also drop India to 116 ratings points, in the fourth position when ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.
And a 2-0 victory for Sri Lanka will drop India further to 114 ratings points. However, a drawn series will mean the status quo remains the same.
Apart from the numero uno Test team spot, there is another battle on the cards when India and Sri Lanka square off in the Test series with the first match starting in Ahmedabad on Monday.
ICC Test Player of the Year Gautam Gambhir and Sangakkara will resume their fight for the number one batting slot with the India opener leading the Sri Lanka captain by nine points.
Gambhir has a modest record against Sri Lanka by his high standards as he has scored only 364 runs at an average of little over 33 in six Tests with three half-centuries.
In contrast, Sangakkara has a decent record against India as he has scored 549 runs at an average of little over 42 from 14 innings of nine Tests with two centuries and a half-century.
Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jaywardene, in seventh spot, is the only other batsmen from either side inside the top 10 ranking, while Sachin Tendulkar, who completed 20 years in international cricket on Sunday, occupy the 15th place.
In ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan will be aiming to reclaim the top spot from South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn whom he trails by 16 points.
While from India point of view Harbhajan Singh (5th) and Zaheer Khan (8th) are the only two bowlers inside the top 10.
Interestingly, Harbhajan’s batting exploits has also helped him to become the only player from both the sides to be the highest-ranked player in the Test all-rounders list at the 10th spot.