Team India aims to narrow gap with Australia in ODI Championship table

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New Delhi, Dec 13 (ANI): Fresh after claiming the number-one Test spot, Team India aims to narrow the gap with front-runner Australia in the ICC ODI Championship when it goes head to head with Sri Lanka in the five-ODI series which starts in Rajkot on Tuesday.

India currently sits in second place on 122 ratings points, eight behind Australia, but can reduce the gap to four ratings points if it manages to win all five matches of the series.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side can only drop a position if it loses the series by 1-4 or worse. If Sri Lanka wins the series 4-1 series, India will drop to 117 ratings points, two behind South Africa, while a 5-0 defeat will put it on par with Kumar Sangakkara's side on 115 ratings point, but behind Sri Lanka when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.

While, India will be aiming to get closer to Australia, Sri Lanka will be attempting to improve its current seventh position. And to make it happen, Sri Lanka has to win the series by 3-2 or better.

A 3-2 series win will put Sri Lanka ahead of Pakistan, while a 4-1 series win will place it before New Zealand and England on the ODI Championship table. A clean sweep will lift it to third position.Meanwhile, in the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen, Dhoni is feeling the heat from Australia's Michael Hussey as only 16 points separates the two batsmen.

Dhoni will have to perform consistently well in the series with the bat to defend this number-one position, which he has been occupying since January.

Apart from Dhoni, India boasts Yuvraj Singh (seventh), Sachin Tendulkar (eighth), Virender Sehwag (11th) and Gautam Gambhir (19th) inside the top 20. The foursome are well-placed to move up the order with Yuvraj in sight of a return to the top three and Sehwag within touching distance of a place inside the top 10.

Sri Lanka includes captain Kumar Sangakkara (17th) and Sanath Jayasuriya (18th) inside the top 20 while the batsmen inside the top 50 are Tillakaratne Dilshan (27th), Mahela Jayawardena (29th) and Thilina Kandamby (49th).

In the ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Kulasekara is the highest-ranked bowler from either side in fourth position. A good series with the ball will potentially see him reclaim the number-one spot from New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori whom he trails by 32 points.

The other bowlers inside the top 20 from either side are spinners with India's Harbhajan Singh in 11th position and Sri Lanka pair of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralidaran in 13th and 14th spots respectively.In the ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders, Yuvraj is the highest-ranked player from either side in third place while Jayasuriya is Sri Lanka's highest-ranked all-rounder in eighth spot.

The list is headed by Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan with Australia's Shane Watson in second place.

The series schedule is:First ODI at Rajkot (Dec 15), Second ODI (d/n) at Visakhapatnam (Dec 18), Third ODI (d/n) at Cuttack (Dec 21), Fourth ODI (d/n) at Kolkata (Dec 24) and Fifth ODI at New Delhi (Dec 27). (ANI)

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