Colombo: England will start its domestic international season as the No.1 Test side in the ICC Test Championship after a two-Test draw with Sri Lanka helped it retain the top spot.
England defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets here Saturday. India are joint third with Australia, five points behind England and South Africa who are tied at 116 points.
England entered the two-Test series against Sri Lanka with 118 ratings points. Though it conceded two points, England have been rated above South Africa due to decimal point calculations.
This is the second time in less than a month that England`s number one status has been at risk.
While this time gutsy on-field effort helped England, last month South Africa`s three Tests in New Zealand were marred by bad weather.
The threat to England`s No.1 status exists.
With the West Indies and South Africa touring England from May 17 to July 19, any series loss will mean England`s ranking will take a dive, provided Australia wins its series against the West Indies.
The Test Championship table, unlike the ODI Championship table, is updated only after the end of the series.
Sri Lanka has gained one rating point and moved to 99 - nine points behind fifth-placed Pakistan.
Now, only eight ratings points separate the top five sides, setting up an exciting 12 months of Test cricket when everyone will try to top the table by April 1 to win a cash reward of USD450,000.