Well..as an Indian cricket fan, it was nice to know that India would be once again in the second spot, as per the latest ICC test Championship ratings, in case they win the series against. Even a 1-0 win for India would find themselves in the second spot. Coooool!India are showing signs of even making the ongoing test series 2-0, given their form and consistency in the series, especially after the victory in the first test at Chennai. All this after South Africa grabbed the place by defeating Bangladesh 2-0 in the recently concluded test series. Both the teams equally deserve it. And at the end, the best team gets it.
However, if teams India and South Africa are taken into consideration, it is really difficult to say as to which team deserves the honour. India, as I said in one of my earlier posts, have defeated stronger teams like England and Australia, to be considered in the race. And on the other hand, South Africa, are the only team in the world to have beaten a test playing nation on their home soil. This they achieved, when they beat England 2-0 in the four match test series the was a part of the Nat West series. And even beaten India on their home ptich, though the series was levelled.
South Africa even beat New Zealand in the two match test series last December 2-0. On the other hand, India have won the aforementioned test series' at home. Be it in the Border-Gavaskar trophy or in the ongoing test series against England. They lost the series against Sri Lanka, on their tour to the same 2-1, while South Africa have not lost any of the series what- so-ever. In India, they levelled with the home team. No series that India won were outside their home ground. The last test series which India won outside home was against England in mid 2007, when the first test (which India should have lost) was washed out by rain and India won the second, with the third being drawn.
Now, this shows that both the teams India and South Africa are equally in level compared their strengths, it is now the question as to who would be the number 1 team. Of course not Australia. It is the good work done by the retired lot, that Australia is now enjoying the top spot. Else their test record is no better than India or South Africa. I'm sick of citing their 2-0 loss to India. However the whitewash of New Zealand cannot be taken into consideration, bacause of the current form of New Zealand and also that was a match played at home. The ongoing test series against South Africa will surely test Australia's myth in test cricket. However, a series win for oz shouldn't be enough to convince. The only win outside their home nation was against West Indies, which should have been 3-0 ended in 2-0.
The series that would really test the Aussies' myth would be their tour to South Africa earlier next year in Feb-Apr 2009. The other team that would be a tough nut for Australia to crack would be Sri Lanka. But, a series between the two is nowhere in the near future. So, the South African tour would give a better picture as to whether Australia still deserve their top 1 spot in tests.