Team India has an outside chance to overtake Australia in the ICC Test Championship table as they prepare to take on their mighty opponents in the first of the four Tests in Chennai on Friday.
The only condition where India can topple the Aussies is by beating the men from Down Under 4-0. Harbhajan Singh, ahead of the series, had shot off a 'mild warning' to the visitors on these very lines.
Australia is currently ranked third, while India a sad fifth just below their arch-rivals Pakistan. To jump above Pakistan, team India has to beat Aussies by a margin of 1-0 or better.
To be guaranteed second position on the Test Championship table at the 1 April cut-off date, Australia needs win the series 2-0 or better. If Australia wins 2-0 and England beats New Zealand 3-0, then both Australia and England will be locked at 119 ratings points but Australia will be ranked above England when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.
To achieve this, Australia has to battle not just their opponents but also their own demons - an inexperienced side and a challenging history. They have not won a Test in India since the 2004 Nagpur match.
Although South Africa has already sealed its position as the number-one ranked Test side at the 1 April cut-off date with which it has not only retained the Test mace but has also been assured of a reward of US$450,000, a further US$750,000 is still up for grabs. This money will be distributed to teams that will finish second (US$350,000), third (US$250,000) and fourth (US$150,000) on the Championship table at the cut-off date, an ICC media release said.
As such, India and Australia, as well as second-ranked England, which will take on New Zealand in a three-Test series from 6 March, will be aiming to collect points from their respective series which can help them win the increased incentive in the form of prize money which was approved by the ICC Board in 2012 and was aimed to promote Test cricket in the period before the ICC Test Championship event in 2017.
Meanwhile, both India and Australia boast only one batsman each inside the top 20 when it comes to Test batsmen.
Australia captain Michael Clarke is occupying second position, six ratings points behind South Africa's Hashim Amla, while India's Sachin Tendulkar is in 20th spot.
Batsmen aiming to break into the top 20 or improve their rankings include Virender Sehwag (22nd), Cheteshwar Pujara (24th), David Warner (25th), Virat Kohli (25th), Shane Watson and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (joint 36th), Phillip Hughes (44th), Ed Cowan (45th), Ravichandran Ashwin (46th) and Matthew Wade (51st).
In the rankings for Test bowlers, Australia's Peter Siddle is the highest-ranked bowler in fifth position, with fellow paceman Mitchell Johnson in 18th. For India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha is in eighth spot and his fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is in 20th place.
Bowlers eyeing upward movement include Harbhajan Singh and Nathan Lyon (joint 25th), Ishant Sharma (32nd), James Pattinson (34th) and Mitchell Starc (40th).