Ponting No.1 batsman in ICC rankings

Published: Saturday, January 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Ricky Ponting, celebrating his man-of-the-series role in Australia's 2-0 series win over South Africa, has been confirmed as the world's number one batsman by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Ponting scored 120 and an unbeaten 143 in his 100th Test match to propel Australia to an eight-wicket victory over the Proteas here on Friday, cashing in on a sporting declaration by South Africa's Graeme Smith to win with 15.3 overs to spare on the final day.

It has been a golden time for 31-year-old Ponting, who was the dominating figure of the three-match series with 117 in Melbourne and his two hundreds here to finish with 515 runs at an average of 103.

Since returning from the Ashes series loss in England last September, Ponting has accumulated five centuries in seven Tests and is just one century behind Don Bradman's 29 Test tons and four behind leading Australian Steve Waugh's 32. Indian Sachin Tendulkar has the most with 35.

Ponting, who supplanted South African Jacques Kallis as the ICC's top-ranked batsman last week, also went past Englishman David Gower to become the 10th all-time leading runscorer in Test cricket with 8,253 runs.

Asked about Bradman, Ponting said: "He played about half as many games as me didn't he?" Bradman played only 52 Test matches.

"It's a nice feeling but at the end of the day it doesn't mean a whole lot," Ponting said after Friday's play.

"I feel really good about my game at the moment," Ponting said.

"You probably have periods of time where you think you are probably batting as well as you ever have."

Despite his match-winning role in his 100th Test, Ponting does not rank it as his pinnacle Test.

"I still think the Manchester Test in the Ashes (last year) was my most enjoyable Test match, to be able to bat in really tough conditions and almost save a Test match was very satisfying," he said.

"But this one is going to be right up there, a couple of days' time the more I think about it the more special it will become.

"There seemed to be a lot of little milestones happening along the way that I haven't had a chance to think about yet, but it will happen at some stage."

The man who led Australia to an Ashes series defeat is not one for ticking off personal milestones, having already admitted he can't wait for next summer's Ashes series, starting in Brisbane on November 23.

"I think that was my fifth hundred so the SCG has been a good place for me to play.

"It has just turned out to be an almost perfect Test match for the team," added Ponting.

Australia and South Africa will join Sri Lanka in a triangular one-day series in January-February before playing a three-Test and One-day series in South Africa in February-March.

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