Australia way ahead in ICC Test rankings

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Australia's dominance of Test cricket is now greater than at any stage since the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Test Championship was launched four years ago, the world governing body said when releasing the latest edition of the table.

The 2-0 series victory in New Zealand confirmed Australia's rating of 132, enabling it to maintain a 22-point lead at the top of the table over England ahead of the Ashes series which starts in July.

Australia last lost a Test series when they were beaten 2-1 in India in 2000-01 although, back on home soil, they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sourav Ganguly's side in 2003-04.

Their overall form was also reflected in the individual rankings. After helping his team to a four-day victory in Auckland, Australia captain Ricky Ponting returned to third place in the batting rankings.

Paceman Glenn McGrath continued to head the bowling standings while Shane Warne rejoined his Australian team-mate amongthe top five Test bowlers, displacing fellowing leg-spinner Anil Kumble.

India missed out on the opportunity to climb to second spot by losing the final match of its three Test match series against Pakistan.

The 1-1 series draw meant India remained third in the table with Pakistan staying in fifth place.

India's Rahul Dravid has lost his place at the top of the batting rankings to South Africa's Jacques Kallis.

But Pakistani duo Younis Khan and Danish Kaneria both catapulted themselve into the top ten of the batting and bowling rankings respectively with their performances in the third Test at Bangalore.

Younis's double-century saw him climb 17 places in the rankings to ninth while leg-spinner Kaneria went up three spots to be tenth in the bowling standings.

Before England play Australia they also play at home against bottom-of-the-table Bangladesh in a two-Test series with Michael Vaughan's men a massive 104 ranking points ahead of the Asian minnows.

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