Pakistan and Sri Lanka aim for improvement in Test Championship table

Courtesy: International Cricket Council

Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be aiming to make an upward movement in the Reliance ICC Test Championship table when they go head to head in a three-Test series which starts at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka is currently sitting in fifth position on 103 ratings points, while Pakistan is nine ratings points behind in sixth position.

However, all this can change depending how the series pans out. While Sri Lanka only needs to win the series to leapfrog fourth-ranked Australia, Pakistan needs to win by 2-0 or better if it wants to move ahead of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s 1-0 or 2-1 series win will put it one ratings point ahead of Australia, a 2-0 win will place it on 107 ratings points, while a 3-0 win will give it a lead of four ratings points over Australia.

On the other side of the coin, if Pakistan wins by a 2-0 margin it will move to 100 ratings points while relegating Sri Lanka to 97 ratings points whereas in case of a 3-0 win, Pakistan will rise to 102 ratings points – just two behind Australia – and Sri Lanka will drop to 96 ratings points. If Pakistan wins 1-0, it will narrow its gap with Sri Lanka to just one ratings point.

If the series ends in a draw, then Sri Lanka will drop a ratings point while Pakistan will gain a point.

In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara will be targeting to regain the number-two position which he last held in May before slipping from that position after the first Test against England in Cardiff.

Sangakkara is currently in fifth position but trails England’s pair of Ian Bell and Alastair Cook, who jointly share the second spot, by only 17 ratings points. Number-one ranked Jacques Kallis of South Africa is 77 ratings points ahead of the left-handed Sri Lankan.

The other batsmen from either side who will be eyeing return to the top 10 include former captains Mahela Jayawardena and Younus Khan. Both the batsmen are currently in 14th and 15th positions, respectively but require less than 40 points each to break into the top 10.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq is enjoying a career-best ranking of 17th and if he manages to produce the same form he showed against South Africa in Dubai and Abu Dhabi last year (he had scores of nine, 79 not out, 77 and 58 not out), then he has a good chance of moving further up the order.

Other batsmen inside the top 50 and hoping to move up the order include Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan (29th), Azhar Ali (34th), N.T.Paranavithana (42nd), Imran Farhat (48th) and Prasanna Jayawardena (50th).

In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath is the highest-ranked bowlers from either side in 17th position, followed by Umar Gul (22nd), Saeed Ajmal (23rd), Abdul Rehman (35th) and Aizaz Cheema (50th).

The bowling table is headed by Dale Steyn of South Africa, who is followed by England’s James Anderson and Graeme Swann.