Qantas Tour of South Africa
Black Caps jump ahead of Australia
Black Caps' second Test stalemate against England has major rankings implications on final day of international season
3 April 2018, 05:07 PM AEST
Australia's batting capitulation on Tuesday has seen them slide to fourth in the ICC Test rankings, with New Zealand jumping ahead of them into third spot.
As Tim Paine's side showered and ate breakfast in Johannesburg on Tuesday, the Kiwis were busy hanging on for a nail-biting draw against England in Christchurch – a result that had major implications for Australia's battered Test outfit.
Before this week, Australia sat third on the ICC's Test team rankings on 103 points, one ahead of the Black Caps, who remained on 102 points after keeping England at bay in the second and final Test at Hagley Oval.
And after second-ranked South Africa took the remaining seven wickets required for victory at The Wanderers, Australia dropped to fourth spot on 102 points and surrendered third to New Zealand on decimal points.
An ICC spokesperson confirmed to cricket.com.au that NZ (on 102.263 ranking points) have marginally overtaken Australia (who have dropped to 102.2) by just 0.063 points.
A rankings dip is a cruel final blow on what has become a disastrous tour for the Australians, who have seen captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and up-and-coming opener Cameron Bancroft sent home and suspended following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
The drop also has a financial cost.
India are the No.1 ranked Test nation and will pocket the US$1million dollar prize from the ICC that is awarded to the top side at the end of the international season (Tuesday, April 3).
Australia began the series in South Africa with hopes of leapfrogging their hosts into second and taking home the US$500,000 ICC rankings runners-up purse. They would have required a 3-0 or 4-0 series victory to pinch second spot.
The team that finishes third claims $200,000 and the fourth-placed side will claim half that amount.
In diminishing light in Christchurch, No.8 Ish Sodhi proved England's roadblock in a 168-ball unbeaten final-day half-century.
Sodhi and paceman Neil Wagner (7 off 103) came together after tea, stubbornly resisting England's bowlers with a ring of close-in fielders to push NZ to just their second home series win over England in their Test history.