Dubai: South Africa retained the iconic Reliance ICC Test Championship mace and with it won a cash award of USD 500,000 following its 2-0 series win over the West Indies in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The series win means irrespective of how both the fourth Test between Australia and India, and the second Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, pan out, South Africa cannot be removed from the top Test pedestal at the April 1 annual cut-off date.
South Africa now has 124 ratings points, and, even if Australia wins the Sydney Test, it will finish on 119 ratings points, which will earn it second position and an award of USD 390,000.
A defeat in the Sydney Test will result in Australia losing points but still remaining a place ahead of third-ranked England and fourth-ranked Pakistan, who will collect USD 280,000 and USD 170,000, respectively.
Currently, Sri Lanka is at fifth spot with 101 points while India occupies sixth plave with 96 points.
The annual cut-off date for the Reliance ICC Test Championship is April 1 but because the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be played between February 14 and March 29, these three are the last Test series of the season, thus bringing forward the annual cut-off date.
South Africa first surged to the top of the Test table in November 2009 and has held the number-one position since August 2012, following its 2-0 victory in England. This completes a hat-trick of winning the mace at the annual cut-off dates.
South Africa captain Hashim Amla collected the mace and a cheque of USD 500,000 on behalf of his side from ICC Chief Executive David Richardson in a presentation ceremony that took place after the conclusion of the Cape Town Test.
Amla, upon receiving the prestigious mace, said, "The 2014/15 Test season was a great advert for the longer format of game. We saw enthralling battles between the Test-playing nations, which only highlighted and gave greater significance to Test cricket's place amongst the three formats. From Bridgetown, Bulawayo, Dhaka, Galle, Lords, Sharjah and Melbourne to name a few; Test cricket has been alive across the world.
"We had a sparse Test schedule this season due to the focus on 50-over cricket, however, I am pleased by the progress our team has made with away wins in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and a series win at home to the West Indies," he said.