Sports Desk

LAHORE - Pakistan have narrowed the gap with the top four sides in the ICC Test Championship table after beating number-one ranked England 3-0 in the three-Test series which finished in Dubai on Monday.

Pakistan had entered the series in fifth position on 99 ratings points and though they have not gained any place on the Championship table, they have moved to 108 ratings points and within striking distance of the top four for the first time since 2007.

Misbah-ul-Haq's men are now just three ratings points behind India and Australia, and nine ratings points behind number-two ranked South Africa. England, in contrast, have retained their number-one ranking which they have held since beating India in England last summer. Nevertheless, Andrew Strauss's side have plummeted from 125 ratings points to 118 ratings points to lead second-ranked South Africa by just one ratings point, placing their lead in jeopardy even before they head to Sri Lanka for a two-Test series starting next month.

Pakistan's 3-0 series win over England have also kept alive South Africa's chances of finishing as the number-one ranked side at the April 1 annual cut-off date and with it win a prize of US$175,000.

 To make this happen, the Proteas will have to win all the three Tests against New Zealand which will be played in New Zealand from 7-27 March. For Pakistan, this is their highest rating since they climbed to 108 ratings points in May 2007. It is also the first time Pakistan have beaten England in all the Tests of a series in 22 attempts.


ICC Test Rankings

Rank    Team    Matches    Points    Rating

1    England    41    4830    118

2    South Africa    28    3277    117

3    India    46    5111    111

4    Australia    42    4655    111

5    Pakistan    35    3781    108

6    Sri Lanka    35    3426    98

7    West Indies    30    2654    88

8    New Zealand    24    1998    83

9    Bangladesh    18    135    8