Given the present atmosphere, celebrating India as the second ranked Test team in the world appears like distant memory. Even as a few misguided men decided to wreck carnage in Mumbai, another part of the world was witnessing a different battle but not even comparable to the one being played out by the brave men of Mumbai.
Even as Mumbai tries to grapple with the tragic events of last week, cricket did not stand still like it did in India. South Africa were using Bangladesh as preparation for the difficult tour to Australia and while the result would have buoyed them, even the difference in the skills would not have given them a false sense of security.
What though will give Graeme Smith and his men immense pleasure would be the fact that South Africa have once again climbed up as high as they could get, barring Australia. South Africa eclipsed India in a close fought battle for second place after defeating Bangladesh in the two Test series.
But it was not all pleasure and play for all the teams from the southern hemisphere. While Australia annihilated New Zealand after losing some of the rust that had got into the Australian cricket team, it means that New Zealand have now sunk to the pits, literally. They now occupy the eighth spot, least to say, one of the most unenviable spots. Their only source of comfort – Bangladesh to cushion them from the bottom rung by a whopping eighty-one points, the same as the West Indies. West Indies though will still have to fight as New Zealand look to swap places with them soon when their mutual battles resume.
For the moment, South Africa are thirteen points adrift of Australia and if they are to remain in the second spot or aim to go higher, they must defeat Australia. For India, who are only one point adrift of South Africa, unless the England tour resumes and the tour to Pakistan takes place, they have to count on South Africa’s failures to keep them from getting ahead of the race.