New Delhi: When India and Australia will take the field on Friday for the first Test of the four-match series at Chennai, both the teams have an opportunity to boost their Test rankings and bag the handsome prize money. South Africa are assured of top place and a prize money of USD 450,000 at the 1 April cut-off date but a further USD 750,000 will be distributed among the teams finishing second (USD 350,000), third (USD 250,000)and fourth (USD 150,000).
Australia are currently ranked third and lead fifth-ranked India by 12 ratings points. However, this could potentially change, depending how the Test series pans out. To be guaranteed second position on the table, Australia need to win the series 2-0 or better. India can move ahead of Pakistan and finish in fourth position if they win the series by 1-0 or better. To move ahead of Australia, India will need to win all the four Tests of the series.
If Australia win 2-0 and England beat New Zealand 3-0, then both Australia and England will be locked at 119 ratings points but Australia will be ranked above England when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point. The England-New Zealand three-Test series will begin on March 6 in Dunedin.
Meanwhile, both India and Australia boast only one batsman each inside the top 20 of the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen. Australia captain Michael Clarke is occupying second position, six ratings points behind South Africa's Hashim Amla, while India's Sachin Tendulkar is at the 20th spot. Batsmen aiming to break into the top 20 or improve their rankings include Virender Sehwag (22nd), Cheteshwar Pujara (24th), David Warner (25th), Virat Kohli (25th), Shane Watson and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (joint 36th), Phillip Hughes (44th), Ed Cowan (45th), Ravichandran Ashwin (46th) and Matthew Wade (51st).
In the Player Rankings for Test bowlers, Australia's Peter Siddle occupies in fifth position, with fellow paceman Mitchell Johnson at 18th. For India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha is in eighth spot and his fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is in 20th place. Bowlers eyeing upward movement include Harbhajan Singh and Nathan Lyon (joint 25th), Ishant Sharma (32nd), James Pattinson (34th) and Mitchell Starc (40th). The top two positions in the bowlers list are occupied by South Africa's Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander while Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal is in third position.
In the ICC Player Rankings for Test allrounders, third-ranked Shane Watson is only the player from either side in top five. The list is headed by Bangladeshs Shakib Al Hasan with Jacques Kallis second.
The player rankings will now be updated after the conclusion of Centurion and Chennai Tests.