Run machine Hayden ranks top in both forms of game

Published: Sunday, January 26, 2003, 21:59 [IST]
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Sydney: Australia's run machine Matthew Hayden can expect to be a marked man at the World Cup after being officially recognised on Sunday as the best batsman in Test and Limited Overs cricket. Hayden's 458 runs off English and Sri Lankan bowlers during the tri-nations One-day series, at an average of 65.42 and strike-rate of 91.05, moved him to the top of the PricewaterhouseCoopers One-day rankings. He already led the Test list. Hayden joins West Indian pair Brian Lara and Sir Vivian Richards and India's Sachin Tendulkar as the only players to have held both number one batting positions simultaneously. While Australia's entire top order packs a big punch, Hayden will be the key wicket for opposition bowlers at the World Cup after his dominance in the tri-nations contest which ended on Saturday. Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting blaze away like tornadoes and Damien Martyn, Darren Lehmann and Michael Bevan 'milk' attacks with more finesse than fervour. Hayden can do both. He can annihilate pacemen and spinners at better than a run a ball, but if Australia is in trouble, he can ease the tempo and bat through the innings, guarding his wicket but still getting runs. Australia's two tri-nations series finals wins against England were perfect examples. In the first, with Australia guaranteed victory, he slammed 45 off 37 balls. In the second, as Australia struggled with 56 for three, he compiled a less sensational but more important 69 off 91, ensuring a respectable total that ended up being enough to win the match. He was Australia's most consistent batsman all through the series, his overall tally being 148 runs more than Gilchrist and 152 better than Ponting. He averaged more than 20 runs per innings better than both of them, while his strike rate was swifter than the dashing Ponting (86.19) but not as good as Gilchrist (119.23), who in the first final slammed a hurricane-like 69 off 37 balls. South African captain and all-rounder Shaun Pollock leads the bowlers after carving up Pakistan recently, with Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralitharan at number two ahead of Australia's Glenn McGrath. Sri Lanka's swashbuckling left-hander Sanath Jayasuriya, who scored back-to-back tri- nations series centuries this summer, is second on the list ahead of Pakistan's Yousuf Youhana and India's Virender Sehwag. Australian speedster Brett Lee - man-of-the-match in both tri-nations finals and also the player-of-the-series - reached a career-high fifth place. With the World Cup starting February 9, Australia has the most representatives in the batting and bowling top tens ahead of South Africa. Hayden, Bevan (sixth), Gilchrist (eighth) and Ponting (ninth) lead the batsmen with McGrath, Lee and Jason Gillespie (eight) in the top tier of bowlers. South Africa, regarded as Australia's biggest World Cup threat, has two players in the batting top 10: veteran Jonty Rhodes at seventh and all-rounder Jacques Kallis 10th. The Proteas also have two top-10 bowlers: Pollock and paceman Makhaya Ntini in fourth. The rankings are: Batting: 1. Matthew Hayden (Australia) 2. Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) 3. Yousuf Youhana (Pakistan) 4. Virender Sehwag (India) 5. Chris Gayle (West Indies) 6. Michael Bevan (Australia) 7. Jonty Rhodes (South Africa) 8. Adam Gilchrist (Australia) 9. Ricky Ponting (Australia) 10. Jacques Kallis (South Africa)

Bowling: 1. Shaun Pollock (South Africa) 2. Muthiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) 3. Glenn McGrath (Australia) 4. Makhaya Ntini (South Africa) 5. Brett Lee (Australia) 6. Wasim Akram (Pakistan) 7. Andrew Caddick (England) 8. Jason Gillespie (Australia) 9. Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka) 10 Harbhajan Singh (India)

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