Sri Lanka and India will face off in the first of a three-Test series at Galle on Wednesday with one eye on the ICC Test Team Rankings as both teams aim to improve their respective positions. Fifth-ranked India knows that a 3-0 victory can propel it up the rankings table, and depending on the final outcome in the ongoing Ashes series, it could even climb to as high as third place, provided Australia defeats England at The Oval.
A 2-1 victory would see Virat Kohli-led India gain three points. If seventh-placed Sri Lanka whitewashes India 3-0 then it will gain eight rankings points and could theoretically climb to fifth and India would drop to 89 points, irrespective of the outcome in the final Ashes Test. A 2-1 win for the hosts, meanwhile, would see it gain four rankings points and, thus, overtake Virat Kohli’s side. (India Set for Sangakkara’s Farewell Party)
The last time India toured Sri Lanka in 2010, the series ended in a 1-1 draw, and in that scenario Sri Lanka would gain a point, while India would remain on 97 points.
The following are the permutations for the forthcoming series:
Sri Lanka (92 pts) v India (97 pts)
# If SL wins 3-0, then SL 100 pts, Ind 89 pts
# If SL wins 2-1, then SL 96 pts, Ind 93 pts
# If Ind wins 3-0, then Ind 104 pts, SL 86 pts
# If Ind wins 2-1, then Ind 100 pts, SL 89 pts
# If the series is drawn 1-1, then SL 93 pts, Ind 97 pts
Meanwhile, in the ICC player rankings for Test batsmen, fifth-placed Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara goes into his final Test series as the highest ranked batsman on either side on 874 points, seven adrift of South Africa’s Hashim Amla. (Sangakkara is the Best Batsman Sri Lanka Have Produced: Jayawardene)
Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews, who will make his 50th appearance next time out, lies a single place and 14 rankings points further behind, with his opposite number Kohli in 10th position, eight points behind Australia’s Chris Rogers. Kohli is now 180 runs short of the 5,000-run mark in Test cricket.
Other batsmen from either side aiming for upward movements include India trio Murali Vijay (21st), Ajinkya Rahane (22nd) and Cheteshwar Pujara (25th), as will Sri Lanka trio Kaushal Silva (30th), Dimuth Karunaratne (32nd) and Dinesh Chandimal (45th). Vijay will miss the first Test due to injury.
Sri Lanka’s left-arm spinner Rangana Herath is the highest ranked bowler heading into the series in eighth place on 752 points, 13 points behind Australia’s Mitchell Johnson. Twelfth-placed Ravichandran Ashwin, with 124 wickets in 25 Tests to date, is his side’s leading bowler with Ishant Sharma (21st) looking to break back into the top 20. (Shastri set to Join Team India)
Other bowlers likely to feature in the series are: Dilruwan Perera (27th), D. Prasad (29th) and Harbhajan Singh (32nd). Umesh Yadav (47th) holds an 18-point advantage over his team-mate Bhuvneshwar Kumar (48th).
Ashwin is also the highest-ranked all-rounder on either side heading into the series, sitting a point behind South Africa’s Vernon Philander in third position, while Mathews is Sri Lanka’s best all-rounder in 15th spot. (‘Rohit Sharma at No.3 if India Are to Score 300 Runs in a Day’)
(With inputs from ICC)