India ended Australia’s seven-year run at the top of the Test rankings as they will finish as the numero uno Test team this year (2009-10) after their emphatic victory against South Africa at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
India beat South Africa by an innings and 57 runs to level the series 1-1 and also retain the No.1 position in the Test rankings.
It is the first time India have topped the table at the annual cut-off date (April 1) since the rankings were introduced in June 2003. It has been a steady climb by the Indian team as they were ranked sixth in 2004. They were placed third in 2005 and 2006 and finished second last year.
India are at 124 ratings points while South Africa stayed second with 120 points. Australia are third with 116 points.
India will thus retain the Test championship mace, which it received after defeating Sri Lanka last year in December, and will also pocket a cheque for $175,000.
For South Africa, it was heartbreak for the second successive year. Last year they needed a series-win against Australia to finish at the top of the Test table, but lost the home series 1-2 and finished nine ratings points behind Ricky Ponting’s side.
This year, a series win again would have fetched them the top spot.
India and South Africa will fight for the second spot in the One-day rankings during the three-match series starting Feb 21. Australia have guaranteed themselves a number-one finish.