later to beat England by 1- 0 in a five- Test series to reclaim the number- one ranking.

Prior to this and since the 1950s, England had twice achieved number- one rankings – from 1955 to 1959 and then from 1970 to 1973.

In contrast,

India had achieved the number- one ranking in December 2009 after beating Sri Lanka 2- 0 in the three- Test series.

While England will be sitting on top of the tree when the Test Championship table will be updated at the end of the series at the conclusion of the fourth and last Test, Indias position will depend on how The Oval Test, which starts next Thursday, pans out.

If England wins The Oval Test, it will finish on 125 ratings points while India will to third on 117 ratings points.

If India wins or draws the Test, it will stay ahead of South Africa in second position. A win will allow India to finish on 120 ratings points while a drawn Test will mean it will finish on 119 ratings points.

With the new Test Championship confirmed, the top four teams will progress to the play- offs with seedings determined at the cut- off date around mid- January 2013.

England are unbeaten in the Tests since May 2009.

They beat West Indies ( 2- 0 at home), Australia ( 2- 1 home), Bangladesh ( 2- 0 away), Bangladesh ( 2- 0 home), Pakistan ( 3- 1 home), Australia ( 3- 1 away), ( Sri Lanka ( 1- 0 home) and now lead India 3- 0 ( home).

They drew 1- 1 with South Africa ( away).

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