England narrow rankings gap
England are now just eight points behind Australia in the latest LG ICC Test Championship table following their Ashes success against the world’s number one side.
The table, issued after the draw at The Brit Oval which completed a 2-1 series win for Michael Vaughan’s men, showed England still in second place with 119 points.
It represents a considerable improvement from the end of last month when the gap was 19 points and England are eight clear of third-placed India.
England now has highest rating of any side other than Australia since a new system of calculation was introduced in June 2003.
Andrew Flintoff has climbed to joint seventh place in the rankings for bowlers after his best series for England.
He is also at his career-best batting ranking of 23rd and in the last 20 years, only South African Jacques Kallis has achieved a better combined ranking than Flintoff.
One place behind Flintoff in the batting is Kevin Pietersen, whose rapid rise up the Test rankings has been similar to his performance in the ODI rankings. It is extremely rare for a batsman to reach the world top 25 after just five Test matches.
England’s success in the Ashes is reflected in the rise of other players too, most notably Simon Jones, who climbed 20 places to 17th over the series.
Marcus Trescothick ended as England’s top ranked batsman in eighth place, and Andrew Strauss has returned to the top 10.
Several Australian players have slipped down the official rankings. Damien Martyn has dropped 10 places to 16th, and Adam Gilchrist dropped seven to 14th.
On the bowling front Jason Gillespie dropped five places and Michael Kasprowicz eight. But Shane Warne's 40 wickets have lifted him two places to third, and he is now at his highest points level for seven years.
Despite dropping 25 points over the series, Glenn McGrath retains top place in the bowling.
ICC Test Championship:
Ranking - Team - Points
1. Australia 127
2. England 119
3. India 111
4. South Africa 100
5. New Zealand 100
6. Sri Lanka 98
7. Pakistan 95
8. West Indies 74
9. Zimbabwe 28
10. Bangladesh 6