7 Feb 2012

Pakistan climbs closer to test cricket top four

6:05 am on 7 February 2012

Pakistan has narrowed the gap with the top four sides in the ICC Test cricket rankings after beating world number-one England 3-nil in the three-Test series which finished in Dubai this morning.

Pakistan had entered the series in fifth position on 99 ratings points and though they remain fifth they have climbed to 108 points and within striking distance of the top four for the first time since 2007.

Misbah-ul-Haq's men are now just three ratings points behind India and Australia, and nine ratings points behind number-two ranked South Africa.

England, in contrast, has retained its number-one ranking which it has held since beating India in England last summer.

Nevertheless, Andrew Strauss's side has plummeted from 125 ratings points to 118 ratings points to lead second-ranked South Africa by just one point, placing their lead in jeopardy even before they head to Sri Lanka for a two-Test series starting next month.

Pakistan's 3-0 series win over England has also kept alive South Africa's chances of finishing as the number-one ranked side at the 1 April annual cut-off date and with it win a prize of US $175,000.

To make this happen, the Proteas will have to win all the three Tests against New Zealand which will be played in New Zealand next month.