England has a chance to regain the number-two ranking in the Reliance ICC Test Championship table when it goes head to head with Sri Lanka in the three-Test series starting in Cardiff on Thursday.
England, which retained second place for all but three months between August 2004 and November 2007, currently sits in third position on 117 ratings points while Sri Lanka is in fourth position on 109 ratings points.
However, all will change if Andrew Strauss's side makes a clean sweep of the series. And if this happens, not only will England leapfrog South Africa into second position but Sri Lanka will drop behind Australia on 104 ratings points.
A 2-0 series win will put England on equal points with South Africa but it will be ranked behind the Proteas by a fraction. However, this result will still mean Tillekeratne Dilshan's side will finish behind Australia in fifth position.
On the other side of the coin, Sri Lanka just needs to win the series to move ahead of England. A 2-1 or 1-0 series win will mean the two sides will swap places while England will drop behind Australia in fifth position if Sri Lanka wins all the three Tests for the series.
To check Test series permutations, please go to http://www.icc-cricket.com/match_zone/odi_predictor.php
In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has an opportunity to reclaim the coveted number-one batting spot which is currently shared by Sachin Tendulkar of India and South Africa's Jacques Kallis.
Sangakkara, who first achieved the top position in December 2007, trails Tendulkar and Kallis by just one ratings point and a good performance in Cardiff will certainly allow him to regain the spot he lost earlier this year on 6 January after the Cape Town Test in which the Indian icon scored 146 and 14 not out to move up by one place and the South African maestro hit 161 and 109 not out to jump four places.
Besides Sangakkara, the other batsmen inside the top 10 from either side include Jonathan Trott (fourth), Alastair Cook (fifth), Mahela Jayawardena (seventh) and Thilan Samaraweera (10th).
Sitting outside the top 20 are Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Strauss and Matt Prior who all will be aiming for upward movements.
In the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, England boasts three bowlers inside the top 10 - Graeme Swann (second), James Anderson (third) and Stuart Broad (10th) - while Sri Lanka's highest-ranked bowler is Ajantha Mendis (16th) and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath is four places behind in 16th position.
The schedule of the series is:
26-30 May - First Test, Cardiff
3-7 June - Second Test, Lord's
16-20 June - Third Test, Southampton