ABU DHABI - Australia have returned to the top of the one-day international rankings following their 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Monday. Australia slipped from the top spot after a shock three-wicket defeat to Zimbabwe in a tri-series, also involving South Africa, at the end of August.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's India claimed the number one ranking after Australia also lost to South Africa in the final of that tournament. India had a chance to hold on to their position by winning the remaining three ODIs of the five-match series, currently tied 1-1, at home against the West Indies.

But with the cancellation of the third match in Visakhapatnam due to a cyclone, India will no longer be able to win the required four matches in the series to retain top spot. South Africa are currently second with India third in the latest ICC rankings released on Monday.

Meanwhile, Australia's stand-in captain George Bailey admits that regaining the number one ranking will count for nothing once they launch their assault on the World Cup on home soil in February. Australia claimed a nail-biting one-run victory in the 50th and final over on Sunday to take the third one-dayer against Pakistan and complete a 3-0 cleansweep. They won the first match in Sharjah by 93 runs and the second by five wickets in Dubai and are now back in the world number one spot having dislodged India.

"You're trying to win every game you play. As a team, a whitewash is what you want," said Bailey, who has been standing in for injured skipper Michael Clarke. "It's lovely to be ranked number one in the world but come the World Cup, I think, it will have zero bearing. It means nothing.

To see our energy, our fight and our intent to get through difficult periods and get through the pressure that Pakistan were putting on and throw it back at them -- that was more pleasing," said Bailey of Australia's fightback. That's the sort of stuff that will happen in the World Cup."

Bailey praised bowler Glenn Maxwell who defended two runs with a maiden final over, taking two wickets for the one-run win "It was pretty stressful. Ideally we're taking those wickets earlier. I felt unless we got some wickets and got ourselves back in the game then they were going to win the game in about the 47th over," said Bailey. "We had to try to get back into the game to try to win it and we did."

Bailey, who stood down from the Twenty20 captaincy last month to concentrate on one-day internationals, said leading the team was not on his mind. "The thing that is playing on my mind at the moment is not getting enough runs. I am enjoying the captaincy, winning is fun."