According to the Guardian, it is little more than a year since they were knocked off the top of the rankings by South Africa in Andrew Strauss's last Test as captain, but they have now fallen well behind India as well.
Australia will leapfrog them if they win the fourth Test in Melbourne after Christmas, a remarkable turnaround after they started the series in fifth, 15 ranking points behind England, the report said.
A 5-0 whitewash would lift Australia four points clear of England, and leave Cook's team only five ahead of Pakistan in fourth, the last position that will earn a place in the inaugural World Test Championship which is due to be played in England in the summer of 2017, the report added.
A 3-0, 4-1 or 3-2 series defeat would allow England to stay ahead of Australia in third, the report further said.
Michael Clarke, Australia's captain, has set his team the target of reclaiming the position at the top of the rankings they last held in August 2009, having been there since the system was introduced in June 2003, the report mentioned.
--ANI (Posted on 18-12-2013)