Australia needs to win Ashes to retain number-one ranking in Tests

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Dubai, July 7 (ANI): Australia and England go head to head in the mouth-watering Ashes series in Cardiff on Wednesday with Ricky Ponting's side needing to win the series to retain its number-one ranking in the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship table.

Although a drawn series will be enough for Australia to retain the Ashes, thanks to its 5-0 victory in the last series in its backyard in 2006-07, this outcome would drop it to second place for the first time since the current rankings system was introduced in 2003.

Today's championship table may reflect a nine-point lead for Australia over South Africa but that lead will narrow to just two ratings points when the annual update is carried out on 1 August and all series completed before August 2006 fall off the table.

These results include Australia's back to back 2-0 and 3-0 wins over South Africa in 2005-06, hence reducing the gap significantly.

As such, when the annual update is carried out on 1 August Australia will drop four points to 124 ratings points while South Africa will gain three ratings points to rise to 122 ratings points. England, which currently sits on 101 ratings points, will slip to 99 ratings points.

England could overtake Australia at the end of this series. But to make that happen, it will have a create history and win every Test, something which no English side has done in a series of five or more Tests since the start of the Ashes over a century ago. (ANI)

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