Series win will move Sri Lanka into sixth position in Test rankings

Dubai, May 18: England will aim to narrow the gap with third-ranked Pakistan while Sri Lanka will target moving ahead of sixth-ranked South Africa in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings when the three-Test series begins at Headingley on Thursday.

England currently sits in fourth position on 105 points (six behind Pakistan), while Sri Lanka is on 88 points in seventh spot (four behind South Africa). If England wins all the three Tests, then it will rise to 109 points (two behind Pakistan) while a 2-0 win will put it on 108 points (three behind Pakistan).

In contrast, Sri Lanka can move to as high as 98 points, but to make this to happen, it will have to win all three Tests. In this scenario, there will be a three-way tie between New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka, but when the rankings are calculated beyond the decimal point, then New Zealand will be ranked fourth, England fifth and Sri Lanka sixth.

A 2-1 or 1-0 win will earn Sri Lanka six points, which will put it two points ahead of South Africa, while a 2-0 win will put the Asian side on 96 points.

This is the ninth time England is hosting Sri Lanka in a Test series. Of the previous eight series, England has won four, while Sri Lanka has triumphed twice, including a 1-0 win on the previous tour in 2014. Overall, England leads Sri Lanka 6-5 in 14 series, while in 28 Tests played between the two sides to date, England has won 10 against Sri Lanka’s eight.Meanwhile, Joe Root will resume his battle for the number-one batting position with Australia captain Steve Smith, who is presently sitting on top of the tree. Root, who twice peaked to the number-one ranking last year, trails Smith by 36 points. Some strong performances with the bat will help the Yorkshireman surge to the top and then potentially strengthen his position in the four-Test series against Pakistan, which begins on July 14.

Australia returns to the Test arena at almost the same time when it travels to Sri Lanka for a three-Test series, which begins in Pallekele onJuly 26.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews is the other batsman who features inside the top 10. He is currently occupying the eighth position and has a chance to return to the top five as he trails fifth-ranked Younus Khan of Pakistan by 18 points.

Those outside the top 10 and aiming to improve their rankings include England captain Alastair Cook (14th) and Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal (20th).

England fast bowler Stuart Broad will defend his number-one position when he will take the field at Headingley. The 29-year-old moved to the top of the chart following the Johannesburg Test against South Africa earlier this year, and leads India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin by just one point. Not only to retain his number-one spot but to also put some daylight between himself and Ashwin, Broad will need to put in some impressive performances in the series.

Not too far behind is his new-ball partner James Anderson. The Lancastrian, who achieved his career-high second ranking against the West Indies last year in Barbados, is currently in fifth position, and trails third-ranked Yasir Shah of Pakistan by 41 points and fourth-ranked Dale Steyn of South Africa by 36 points.

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath is Sri Lanka’s highest-ranked bowler in 11th position and has an opportunity to return to the top 10 as he is just five points behind South Africa’s 10th-ranked Vernon Philander. Steven Finn of England is eight places and 121 points behind the Sri Lankan.

England boasts two players inside the top five of the all-rounders’ list. Broad is third, while Ben Stokes is fourth. The list is headed by India’s Ashwin.

Series schedule:

19-23 May – 1st Test, Headingley, Leeds

27-31 May – 2nd Test, Chester-le-Street

9-13 June – 3rd Test, Lords

MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings (Before the start of England-Sri Lanka series)

Rank Team              Points

1          Australia         118

2          India                112

3          Pakistan          111

4          England           105

5          New Zealand   98

6          South Africa   92

7          Sri Lanka        88

8          West Indies     65

9          Bangladesh     57

Note: Zimbabwe has 12 points but has not played the required eight Test matches over the new rating period to be included on the main table. It will reflect on the table as soon as it plays two more Tests

MRF ICC Test Player Rankings (before the start of England-Sri Lanka Test series)

Batsmen (top 10)
Rank     Player                  Team     Pts         Ave        HS Rating

1         Steve Smith         Aus        925        60.18    936 v Eng at Lord’s 2015

2         Joe Root               Eng        889        54.93    917 v Aus at Trent Bridge 2015

3         Kane Williamson NZ         868        49.23    893 v Aus at Perth 2015

4         Hashim Amla      SA         860        51.45    907 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2013

5         Younus Khan       Pak        826        53.94    880 v SL at Lahore 2009

6         AB de Villiers     SA         818        50.46    935 v Aus at Port Elizabeth 2014

7         Adam Voges        Aus        811*!    95.50    811 v NZ at Christchurch 2016

8         Angelo Mathews SL          808        50.18    877 v NZ at Christchurch 2014

9         David Warner      Aus        800        50.06    880 v NZ at Perth 2015

10        Misbah-ul-Haq    Pak        764        48.89    842 v NZ at Abu Dhabi 2014

 Other selected rankings

 Rank     Player                  Team     Pts         Avge      HS Rating

14        Alastair Cook      Eng        723        46.56    874 v Ind at Kolkata 2012

20        D. Chandimal      SL          675        45.87    690 v NZ at Dunedin 2015

29        D. Karunaratne    SL          593        35.26    619 v WI at Galle 2015

36        Jonny Bairstow    Eng        562        32.54    589 v SA at Johannesburg 2016

37        Ben Stokes           Eng        560        33.73    594 v Aus at Lord’s 2015

42        Kaushal Silva      SL          513        31.90    638 v Pak at Colombo (PSS) 2015

46        Moeen Ali           Eng        492*     27.91    517 v Aus at The Oval 2015

Bowlers (top 10)
Rank     Player                  Team     Pts         Avge      HS Rating

1         Stuart Broad        Eng        872        28.66    880 v SA at Johannesburg 2016

2         R. Ashwin            Ind         871!      25.39    871 v SA at Delhi 2015

3         Yasir Shah           Pak        846*!    24.17    846 v Eng at Sharjah 2015

4         Dale Steyn           SA         841        22.53    909 v WI at Centurion 2014

5         James Anderson  Eng        805        29.18    847 v WI at Barbados 2015

6         Ravindra Jadeja   Ind         789*!    23.76    789 v SA at Delhi 2015

7         Trent Boult          NZ         757        29.14    825 v Eng at Lord’s 2015

8         Josh Hazlewood  Aus        741*     25.77    792 v WI at Hobart 2015

9         Morne Morkel     SA         724        29.33    776 v Aus at Cape Town 2011

10        Vernon Philander SA         717        22.08    912 v Ind at Johannesburg 2013

 Other selected rankings

Rank     Player                  Team     Pts         Avge      HS Rating

11        Rangana Herath   SL          712        29.87    851 v Pak at Colombo (SSC) 2014

19        Steven Finn         Eng        591        28.34    624 v NZ at Headingley 2013

25        Dilruwan Perera  SL          511*     29.56    531 v Pak at Galle 2014

26        Moeen Ali           Eng        496*     39.76    557 v SA at Durban 2015

27        Ben Stokes           Eng        493*!    38.07    493 v SA at Centurion 2016

44        D. Chameera        SL          354*!    28.27    354 v NZ at Hamilton 2015

45        Suranga Lakmal  SL          353*     49.16    363 v NZ at Wellington 2015

46        Mark Wood         Eng        351*     34.40    369 v Pak at Dubai 2015

All-rounders (top five)
Rank     Player                  Team     Pts         HS Rating

1         R. Ashwin            Ind         406       419 v WI at Mumbai 2013

2         Shakib Al Hasan  Ban        384       419 v Zim at Khulna 2014

3         Stuart Broad        Eng        310       382 v Pak at Abu Dhabi 2012

4         Ben Stokes           Eng        276 /*!  276 v SA at Centurion 2016

5         Vernon Philander SA         275*/    376 v Aus at Cape Town 2014

*indicates provisional rating; a batsman qualifies for a full rating after playing 40 Test innings; a bowler qualifies for a full rating when he reaches 100 Test wickets.

!indicates career-highest rating