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1 Australia on the top again. on 12th March 2009, 8:07 am

Ricky Ponting’s men hang on to the mace for 1 April cut-off date after taking 2-0 lead in series with South Africa
After winning the second Test in Durban today, Australia has secured
its place at the top of the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship table
now that it has an unassailable lead in the ongoing Test series in
South Africa.

Although the table is only updated at the end of
each series, South Africa knew before the series started that it needed
to win in order to move ahead of Ricky Ponting’s team by the annual
cut-off date of 1 April.

Now that a series defeat for Graeme
Smith and his men is inevitable, Australia can breathe easy in the
knowledge that the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship mace will be
returning with them to Cricket Australia’s headquarters in Melbourne
along with a cheque for US$175,000.

Consolation for the Proteas
could still come in the form of a cheque for US$75,000 for being ranked
second in the table when the cut-off date comes around. But if
Australia wins the third and final Test in Cape Town, South Africa will
drop below India into third position and it will be Mahendra Singh
Dhoni’s team that claims the prize money for coming second in the
rankings on the 1 April cut-off date.

If the final Test in Cape
Town ends in a draw with Australia winning the series 2-0, South Africa
and India would be level on exactly 118 ratings points, meaning the
prize money for coming second would be shared equally between them.

the series, Australia’s lead had been cut to five ratings points and a
series win of any kind would have been enough for South Africa to go
top. But after its disappointment of losing 2-1 at home to the Proteas,
Australia emerged stronger and more determined than ever to stay on top
of the world.

If Australia wraps up the final Test it will go to
130 ratings points, some 12 clear of India in second. But a win for the
Proteas will mean the gap is just nine points.

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