England will aim to narrow the gap with third-ranked Pakistan while Sri Lanka will target moving ahead of sixth-ranked South Africa in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings when the three-Test series begins at Headingley on Thursday (tomorrow).
England currently sit in fourth position on 105 points (six behind Pakistan), while Sri Lanka are on 88 points in seventh spot (four behind South Africa). If England win all their three Tests, then they will rise to 109 points (two behind Pakistan) while a 2-0 win will put them on 108 points (three behind Pakistan).
In contrast, Sri Lanka can move to as high as 98 points, but to make this to happen, they will have to win all three Tests. In this scenario, there will be a three-way tie between New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka, but when the rankings are calculated beyond the decimal point, then New Zealand will be ranked fourth, England fifth and Sri Lanka sixth.
A 2-1 or 1-0 win will earn Sri Lanka six points, which will put them two points ahead of South Africa, while a 2-0 win will put the Asian side on 96 points.
This is the ninth time England are hosting Sri Lanka in a Test series. Of the previous eight series, England have won four, while Sri Lanka have triumphed twice, including a 1-0 win on the previous tour in 2014. Overall, England lead Sri Lanka 6-5 in 14 series, while in 28 Tests played between the two sides to date, England have won 10 against Sri Lanka’s eight. (Courtesy The News)