England need to win 2-0 or 3-1 to become No 1 Test side

England will go to number one in the Reliance ICC Test Championship if it beats India by at least two Tests in the upcoming four-match series. Although currently in third position on the table, Andrew Strauss’s team will leap above South Africa and India to take pole position if it finishes the series 3-1 or 2-0 to the good or better.

England will lead the table by three ratings points if it wins the series by two clear matches. In that scenario, India would hold on to second position with South Africa slipping to third. If the home team was to sweep the series 4-0, India would drop to third place.

A 1-0 or 2-1 series win for England will put its rating level with India’s but India will still be top by a fraction of a point. A drawn series (0-0, 1-1 or 2-2) will ensure India stays six points clear at the top but with England edging ahead of South Africa into second position.

An India series win will see it stretch its lead at the top of the table, leaving England lying in third place.

The update, whereby older results are dropped or have their weightings reduced, has led to no changes in the rankings but India’s lead over South Africa is trimmed from nine points to seven points. SA is not scheduled to play Test cricket until November when it hosts Australia.

The first Test, which starts at Lord’s on 21 July, will be the 2,000th in the history of the game and the 100th between England and India. With a full house and a huge global television viewership expected, the enduring qualities of the pinnacle format of cricket will be highlighted, more than 134 years since the first Test was staged.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: “As we all prepare to celebrate the staging of the 2,000th Test match, one cannot imagine it to be any better than between two of the top teams in a series that carries with it the battle for top spot on in the rankings. That is great context and we will enhance that with the ICC World Test Championship in future.

“Test cricket is the pinnacle form of the game and we will continue to protect and promote it above all. It is our link to the game’s origins, it is what defines greatness and it is recognised by the players as being the benchmark by which they wish to be graded and remembered. History has proven that no other form of the game can create memorable and meaningful moments like Test cricket can.”

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