Ashes rout boosts Australia to world #3

Sydney - Australia jumped two places to third on the world Test rankings after sealing a 5-0 whitewash in the Ashes series in Sydney on Sunday, overtaking England and Pakistan.

Michael Clarke's men climbed to within six points of second-placed India with their 281-run rout of England. Australia's third-ever clean sweep of the Ashes brought them 10 points for ratings of 111.

England's captain Alastair Cook reacts as he walks off the field past the board displaying the result of their fifth Ashes cricket test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground January 5, 2014. A rampant Australia sealed a 5-0 Ashes series sweep by skittling England out for 166 to claim a 281-run victory with more than two days to spare in the fifth test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. Credit: Reuters

England's crushing defeat cost them nine points and saw them slide to fourth place at 107, five points clear of Pakistan.

South Africa remain comfortably atop the world rankings at 133

points, according to the International Cricket Council.

It is a remarkable turnaround for the Australians who had a forgettable year in 2013 - losing a four-Test series to India without a single win and the previous Ashes series in England 3-0.

Clarke is targeting the top spot in Test cricket and Australia's three-game series against South Africa in February-March will be a major test of his in-form squad.

India will have a chance to shore up their position with a two-Test series against eighth-placed New Zealand beginning in February. England face Sri Lanka, ranked sixth, for two Tests in June. - Sapa-AFP

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