Australia to seek ranking boost in South Africa
The Aussies will tour South Africa for a four-Test series against South Africa starting March 1.
Updated - Jan 9, 2018 1:28 pm
After beating England 4-0 in the recently concluded Ashes series, Australia have climbed above them into the third spot on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings and now they are eyeing to claim South Africa’s place at No. 2 with a series win over the Proteas.
Steve Smith and Co. started this summer at the fifth place in the ICC’s ranking but a 4-0 series win over England means they now have 104 points and only trail South Africa (111) and India (124).
The Australia will tour South Africa for a four-Test series starting March 1 in Durban, while the Proteas and India are currently encountering each other in a three-match Test series. In case of no sequence of results in those seven games, Aussies will end up taking the top spot but Darren Lehmann‘s charges will likely sit second if they enjoy a lot of success in South Africa.
“It is going to be a really tough series for us,” Smith told ABC Radio, as reported by SBS News. “They play really good cricket, particularly at home. It is going to be a great challenge for this group but we can take a lot of confidence how we played this summer. We need to take that to South Africa.”
Smith backed his star-studded bowling attack to do the job in South Africa who will come face to face with an equally threatening, if not better, pace quartet which consists of Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn (subject to fitness).
“It has been great to have these three (fast bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood) on the park … Nathan Lyon too,” Smith said. “The guys have worked so well together and we have achieved something pretty special.”
The national selectors will pick the touring squad for South Africa before the next Sheffield Shield round, with Cameron Bancroft expected to be retained at the top of the order. Some Test players and coaches will also skip the upcoming T20 tri-series against England and New Zealand to arrive early in Johannesburg.
ICC Test team rankings