South Africa Go Top as England Falter

England’s brief reign as International Test Cricket Champions is over, following their comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Pakistan.  Pakistan completed the whitewash of the former no 1s half an hour before lunch on the fourth day of the final Test in the three-match series.  The loss leaves third-placed England holding six series trophies, one fewer than both South Africa and Australia.

The Proteas snatch the top spot in the table by virtue of their four series draws to Australia’s three, and will be looking to consolidate their position at the head of the field with victory in their forthcoming series in New Zealand.

Australia for their part will relish leapfrogging their oldest rivals and recent tormentors.  Since their humbling Ashes defeat, Australia have not lost a series and in January regained possession of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from India in some style.  The Ashes is now the only series trophy to elude the Baggy Greens.

Pakistan’s excellent form has seen them overtake their own long-term rival, India.  Pakistan move up to fourth in the table, while India, who topped the rankings as recently as September 2011, continue their free fall and now take up fifth place.

England will be bitterly disappointed to have relinquished the Champions’ Mace after only a little over four months in possession.  They will be hoping that their much-discussed shortcomings against spin in Subcontinental conditions can be addressed in time for the their defence of the series trophy when they travel to Sri Lanka in the spring.

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