Australia v South Africa: Can the Aussies be world number one?

For around 15 years, there was great order to Test cricket. Australia were the undisputed kings and the rest of the world was left to battle it out for the minor placings.
Now, we live in confusing times.
In little over 12 months, three different sides have held the number one ranking, with the previous two incumbents surrendering their crowns in meek fashion.
India were whitewashed 4-0 in England, with Andrew Strauss’s men then suffering a tumultuous year at the top which was ended with defeat by the impressive South Africa.
he manner in which the Proteas hammered England suggested the rightful kings now sit on the throne. A record of only one series defeat in 20 and the fact they are unbeaten away since 2006 provide the statistics to verify their status.
However, Graeme Smith’s side could lose top spot to Australia in a three-Test series that begins at the Gabba on Friday.
For England fans, whose last impression of the Aussies was a glorious Ashes victory down under, the obvious question arises: How can Australia be in line to be world number ones again?
“The rankings set-up has always been confusing,” former Australia opener Matthew Hayden told BBC Sport. “I don’t want to give too much credit to the rankings but I certainly love that these sides are going head to head at this particular stage.”
But perhaps Australia’s claim to be the best in the world is not all that fanciful. Apart from home and away Ashes defeats, their only series loss since early 2009 came in India, a place where England are about to find out just how hard it is to compete.


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