England need Ashes rout to top ICC table


England need to win the upcoming Ashes series by the unlikely margin of three clear Tests to replace Australia at the head of the Test championship table, the ICC has announced.

England’s series win over Pakistan, completed in controversial fashion when the tourists were ruled to have forfeited the fourth and final Test at The Oval on Sunday, has left it 11 rating points adrift of Australia.

But the deficit can be erased if England secures a comprehensive win in the five-match series that begins in Brisbane on November 23. That, however, will be easier said than done as Australia has not lost a series at home since 1992-93 when the West Indies won 2-1.

And the last time England won a series there by three clear Tests was way back in 1978/79 when it triumphed 5-1 against an Australia team weakened by defections to Kerry Packer’s ‘rebel’ World Series Cricket. A series victory for England would also see them receive the ICC’s LG Test Championship mace. The mace has remained in Australians hands for more than three years, since the side regained it from South Africa in early 2003.

England’s series success against Pakistan, confirmed by its victory in the third Test at Headingley, has seen it overtake Inzamam-ul-Haq’s side in the table and Pakistan, now in third position, is just one point clear of India.

ICC Test Championship table for series completed up to August 22, 2006 (position, team, rating):

1 Australia 130

2 England 119

3 Pakistan 112

4 India 111

5 Sri Lanka 103

6 South Africa 94

7 New Zealand 92

8 West Indies 72

9 Zimbabwe 28

10 Bangladesh 2

Source:The News

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