England retain top spot

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England have kept their place at the top of the Reliance International Cricket Council Test Championship table at the April 1 cut-off date, after the first Test between New Zealand and South Africa ended in a draw on Sunday.

This is the first time, since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003, that England have topped the charts at this time.

Andrew Strauss’ side will retain the championship mace and will also receive a cheque of $175,000 which is presented annually to the side that tops the table.

For the next three years, a total of $3.8m will be distributed in prize money with the side leading at April 1 in 2013 receiving a minimum of $450,000 rising to $500,000 in 2015. From 2016, there will be further increases in Test prize money.

Graeme Smith’s team had entered the Test series against the Black Caps needing to win all three matches to move ahead of England.

But after rain ensured a draw in Dunedin, the best series result the Proteas can now achieve is a 2-0 victory, which will keep them at 117 rating points, one behind Andy Flower’s outfit.

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