Dubai: England have an opportunity to overtake Australia and move to as high as the second spot in the Test cricket rankings during the five-match Ashes series starting from Wednesday in Cardiff.
England, currently fifth-placed with 97 points, must win 3-0 or better against second-placed Australia (111 points) to occupy the position. A 3-0 or 4-1 England win will move them above Australia, an International Cricket Council (ICC) release said on Monday.
South Africa head the table with 130 points. India are fourth with 97 points, just ahead of England and sixth-placed Pakistan (also 97) on decimal points.
England will, however, drop to seventh if Australia win 5-0. Australia will reduce the gap with South Africa to 12 points if they win the series.
A 2-2 draw in the series will take England to third with 100 points, above current occupier New Zealand (99) with Australia retaining their second spot but dropping two points.
Australia vice-captain Steven Smith (913) will defend his top slot in the Test batting rankings as he holds a five-point advantage over South Africa's AB de Villiers.
Virat Kohli is the sole Indian in the list at the 10th spot with 755 points.
In the Test bowling rankings, second-placed English pacer James Anderson (824) has a chance to reduce the gap on leader South African quick Dale Steyn (905). No Indian is in the top 10 list of the bowling rankings.