Cape Town - South Africa’s already vice-like grip on Test
cricket has only got more emphatic.
The Proteas (128 rating points) comfortably topped the ICC
rankings for the five-day format even before the conclusion of the respective
series between India and Australia and New Zealand and England.
But with India securing a 4-0 home whitewash of the Aussies,
and then England having to scrap desperately on the last day of the third and
final Test against the Black Caps on Tuesday to secure another draw and a 0-0
outcome, the gap between Graeme Smith’s team and the rest of the pack has
Before the last Test in Auckland against the supposed
underdog Kiwis, second-placed England lay 10 rating points behind the Proteas,
but that gulf has now widened to 14 even as the English (114 points) retain
The Aussies had been third-placed before their own last Test
in India, but another debilitating defeat in New Delhi has seen them drop a
place to fourth, and slip by seven points to 110 - now two points shy of India
(112) who have seized third spot.
It increases the likelihood that South Africa will head the
pack for a long time, even as they enter a greater recess period in Test terms
than most others for the next few months.
England get back into the saddle with a home, quick return
two-Test series against New Zealand in May, ahead of the mid-summer, five-Test
Ashes against old enemy Australia.
But the Proteas are dormant in the five-day arena until
October, when they tackle recent foes Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates -
that ought to be much tougher than the 3-0 whitewash they’ve just achieved
against the Pakistanis on our soil.
South Africa then face India in a three-Test (there is some
speculation it may be increased) headline home series in 2013/14, where they
will probably be heavily tipped to prevail on spicy South African pitches,
especially as some of India’s newer stroke-players have little or no experience
of conditions here.
On April 1, the Proteas collect US$450 000 for topping the
Test rankings at the April 1 annual cut-off.
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