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England's Darren Gough
"It will be good if a bit of grass stays on the pitch"
 real 14k

Pakistan's Wasim Akram
"We have got a lot of support in England"
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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Lord's ushers in new era
Graham Thorpe and Nasser Hussain celebrate
England hope to repeat last year's win in Pakistan
England and Pakistan will launch a new chapter of Test cricket when they meet on Thursday.

The two-match series is the first to count towards the ICC Test Championship, which is based on a league system run by the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack since 1996.

Click here for the current table

It follows the adoption of a co-ordinated 10-year calendar for future tours by all 10 Test-playing nations.

Two points will be awarded to a team winning a series, with one point each for a drawn rubber.

It has not found favour with Wisden, however, because results of one-off Tests have not been included.

A statement issued by Wisden described the new format as "an absurd compromise, including some past results but ignoring others".

The statement goes on: Sri Lanka's win over England at The Oval in 1998 is decreed non-existent, though it would exist had a second Test been scheduled and rained off. Zimbabwe's Test record has been decimated.

"In our view, this is confusing, unjust and unjustifiable. It penalises certain countries for playing Tests that were quite legitimate at the time."

Steve Waugh reaches a hundred against West Indies
Australia's Steve Waugh will receive the ICC TC Trophy in July

An average points per series column has been included initially by the ICC because not all teams have played each other home and away, but the Championship will change to a straight points table in 2005.

Bangladesh have only played three Tests since attaining full member status last year and they will not have a points per series average until they have played all the nine other nations in two years' time.

The leading team, currently Australia, will hold the ICC TC Trophy.

"Test match cricket is the purest form of the game and commands the following of millions of fans around the world," said ICC President Malcolm Gray.

"In many countries it is flourishing and attracts large crowds, but there are parts of the world where the game would benefit from greater public interest and participation.

"An ongoing Test Championship, that tracks the fortunes of each side and provides a talking point for enthusiasts, is one way of rekindling interest and adding context to all future series," he added.

England are currently third in the table, with Pakistan in eighth place.

If England beat Pakistan and win the Ashes series against Australia which follows, they will move ahead of South Africa into second place.

ICC TEST CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE, MAY 2001

 
P
W
L
D
P
Avge
Australia 13 10 2 1 21 1.62
S Africa 15 9 4 2 20 1.33
England 14 7 6 1 15 1.07
Sri Lanka 13 5 5 3 13 1.00
N Zealand 15 6 7 2 14 0.93
W Indies 12 5 6 1 11 0.92
India 12 4 5 3 11 0.92
Pakistan 15 4 7 4 12 0.80
Zimbabwe 12 2 9 1 5 0.42
Bangladesh 1 0 1 0 0 -

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14 May 01 |  England v Pakistan
England wait on White
09 Apr 01 |  Cricket
Waugh wants one-day rankings
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