SRI LANKA have narrowed the gap to number-one ranked South Africa to just two points in the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship after winning the two-Test series against New Zealand in Colombo on Sunday.
Sri Lanka's 202-run victory in the first Test at Galle and their 96-run win at Colombo have earned them a crucial ratings point that has put them on 120 points - just two behind South Africa and one ahead of third-placed India.
Only six ratings points separate the Proteas from Australia. And with the top four teams resuming action in the longer format of the game after next month's ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa, a reshuffling of the pack is on the cards.
The first Test series after the ICC Champions Trophy is the West Indies' tour to Australia for three Tests, followed by Sri Lanka's tour to India, England's tour to South Africa for four Tests and a three-Test tour by Pakistan to Australia.
This gives both India and Sri Lanka the first shot at the number-one spot as the first Test between South Africa and England starts after the conclusion of the Test series in India which, according to the Future Tours Programme, is likely to start in November. While Sri Lanka will need to win the series to go top of the table, India will have to win 2-0 to topple South Africa.
While Sri Lanka's commanding performance in their domestic international series has placed them within reach of the top spot, New Zealand have retained seventh position but have conceded two ratings points to lead eighth-placed West Indies by just four rating points and trail sixth-placed Pakistan by the same margin.
Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship 1. South Africa (122 points), 2. Sri Lanka (120), 3. India (119), 4. Australia (116), 5. England (105), 6. Pakistan (84), 7. New Zealand (80), 8. West Indies (76), 9. Bangladesh (13). - Sapa