India will start their two-Test series against South Africa in Johannesburg on Wednesday with an aim to close the gap with the number one ranked side in the world on the ICC Test Team rankings table. (Uphill task awaits MS Dhoni's men)
South Africa enter the series as the clear leaders with 131 ratings points, while India are in the second position at 119 points.
Whatever be the outcome of the series, both South Africa and India will retain their pre-series ranking. (We have the desire to win: Pujara)
If India manage to win both the Tests, they will gain five ratings points to move up to 124, while Graeme Smith's side will drop down to 125 ratings points, thereby reducing the gap between the two teams to just one ratings point.
A 1-0 series win for India will mean a rise of four ratings points to 123, while South Africa will end at 126 ratings points. A 1-1 or 0-0 series draw will mean India gain one point to move up to 120, while South Africa will move down to 130.
On the other hand, a 1-0 series win for South Africa will see India concede two ratings points, while a 2-0 series win will mean a loss of three ratings points for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side.
Meanwhile, South Africa start the series with the top two ranked batsmen -- AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla -- and the top two ranked bowlers -- Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander --in their side. For India, Cheteshwar Pujara, the winner of the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year Award for 2013, is the highest-ranked batsman on sixth position. While Virat Kohli in 20th spot is the only other Indian batsman inside the top 20.
In the bowlers' list, India's spin pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha are in fifth and ninth positions, respectively. In the all-rounders' table, Ashwin is at the top with 419 rating points