Pallekele (Sri Lanka), July 25: Australia captain Steve Smith today (July 25) received the ICC Test Championship mace and US$1 million in prize money for leading his side to the number-one ranking on the ICC Test Team Rankings on the annual 1 April cut-off date.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson made the presentations to Smith in Pallekele (Sri Lanka), who captained Australia to 10 Test victories over the 12-month period.
Smith paid tribute to his side, saying: "It is a huge honour to be the number-one ranked Test side in the world and the credit should go to all the work the players and support staff have put in over the last 12 months.
"I am really proud of our young team and what we have accomplished so far but there is still more we would like to achieve. We now need to put in consistent performances, both at home and away, to continue to be successful and keep the number-one ranking.
"Winning away from home has often been a challenge for us, especially in sub-continental conditions, but this is something we are looking to change in this upcoming series against Sri Lanka," concluded Smith, who won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2015.
Competition for the number-one ranking on the ICC Test Team Rankings this year remains extremely tight as only 10 points separate the top four sides. Second-ranked India, third-ranked Pakistan and fourth-ranked England have a chance to move into the number-one position, depending how West Indies-India, England-Pakistan and Sri Lanka-Australia series pans out.
To permanently shut the door on its nearest rivals, Australia need to beat Sri Lanka by 1-0 or better and at the same time hope that England wins, at least, one Test against Pakistan.
If India wins 4-0, England-Pakistan series ends in a draw and Sri Lanka win by 1-0 or better, then India will jump to the number-one position.
If Pakistan beat England and Sri Lanka defeat Australia, then Pakistan will claim the number-one ranking for the first time in their history, irrespective of how West Indies-India series finishes.
England too can top the Test rankings. But to make it happen, they will have to win the remaining three Tests against Pakistan and hope West Indies win, at least, one Test against India and Sri Lanka beat Australia.
ICC Test Team Rankings (as on 25 July 2016)
(Read as Rank Team Points)
1. Australia 118
2. India 112
3. Pakistan 111
4. England 108
5. New Zealand 98
6. South Africa 92
7. Sri Lanka 85
8. West Indies 65
9. Bangladesh 57
Note: Zimbabwe has 12 points but has not played the required eight Test matches over the new rating period to be included on the main table. It will reflect on the table as soon as it plays two more Tests
Previous mace winners
April 2002 - Australia
April 2003 - Australia
April 2004 - Australia
April 2005 - Australia
April 2006 - Australia
April 2007 - Australia
April 2008 - Australia
April 2009 - Australia
April 2010 - India
April 2011 - India
April 2012 - England
April 2013 - South Africa
April 2014 - South Africa
April 2015 - South Africa
April 2016 - Australia
About the mace
The mace was produced by the then British Crown Jeweller, Asprey & Garrard, in 2001, which was commissioned to make a distinctive prize designed to stand out from other cricket trophies.
The designers produced a 90cm silver and gold-plated trophy based on a cricket stump as its shank, topped by an orb that represents the cricket world - both geographically and through the inclusion of the emblems of all 10 ICC Members that have played Test cricket.
The stump and the orb combine to portray the mace, regarded as a symbol of authority and prestige. This is regarded as an appropriate combination given the rich history of Test cricket and its image as the most traditional and purest form of the game.
The mace sits on a wooden base with a silver-plated plaque in front with room for engravings of the sides to hold it.
The mace was valued at £30,000 in 2001 and automatically passes from one team to another as results confirm a change of leadership in the ICC Test Championship table.