Australia are facing the prospect of losing their ranking as the world’s best Test side for the first time since 2003. Only victory at both Headingley and The Oval would see the Aussies hold on to top spot, whilst defeat in the Ashes series could see them sink below South Africa, India and Sri Lanka to fourth, which would be their lowest ranking since the current system began. With the weather forecast for Leeds not looking great (as well as the fact that the pitch no longer favours bowlers as it used to) and The Oval’s growing resemblance to a pancake, the tourists could be facing a serious rankings slump.
To be honest, Australia have long since ceased to enjoy the level of dominance that, for younger cricket fans, they seemed to have possessed for eons. The ultimate humiliation, although very unlikely, could come later in the summer – at the time of writing, Australia only lead England in the ODI rankings by 8 points (Australia are in third with 119 points, England are fourth with 111).