Dubai, Dec. 24 (ANI): Australia will need to beat Pakistan comprehensively in the three-Test series starting in Melbourne on Saturday if it is to retain its third position in the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship table.
Australia starts the series with a difference of 33 rating points relative to sixth-placed Pakistan and this gap means it is expected to win the series convincingly. As such, because the rankings are weighted to reflect this difference, failure to win comfortably will mean Australia will drop points.
While Australia's 2-0 win will keep it on 116 ratings points and a clean sweep will earn it just two ratings points, a 1-0 or 2-1 series win will drop it to 115 ratings points and behind Sri Lanka when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.
On the other side of the coin, Pakistan's series win will severely dent Australia's hopes of narrowing the gap with the front-runners.
A 1-0 or 2-1 series win for Pakistan will drop Australia to 110 ratings points, and if the home team suffers three consecutive defeats it will slip to 107 ratings points, just two ahead of fifth-placed England which is involved in a four-Test series against South Africa.
In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsman, Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf is the highest-ranked batsman from either side. He is in fifth position, just 11 points behind India opener Virender Sehwag and as many points ahead of Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting is in 14th position, his lowest ranking since October 2002.
Batsmen outside the top 20 are Simon Katich (21st), Brad Haddin (28th), Kamran Akmal (32nd), Phillip Hughes (34th), Umar Akmal (36th), Imran Farhat (38th) and Marcus North (42nd).
Gautam Gambhir of India heads the batting table with Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardena second and his captain Kumar Sangakkara third.
In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, second-ranked Mitchell Johnson will spearhead the bowling responsibilities as he is the only home team bowler involved in the series inside the top 20.
Just outside the top 20 are Peter Siddle in 22nd position, Doug Bollinger in 39th place and Nathan Haurtiz is in 43rd spot.
Pakistan has Mohammad Asif (fifth) and Danish Kaneria (13th) inside the top 20 while Umar Gul is in 24th position.
Dale Steyn leads the bowlers' chart with Muttiah Muralidaran of Sri Lanka third.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's Shane Bond has retired from Test cricket in ninth position. He achieved his highest ranking of third in October 2007 while hi highest rating was 778 points which he achieved in March 2006. (ANI)