Muralitharan on top again in Test rankings

Published: Monday, March 6, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:Out of form Virender Sehwag dropped a place but managed to hang on in the top 10 and Harbhajan Singh, for the first time in five years, slipped out of top 20 while Sri Lankan offie Muttiah Muralitharan, now with a combined total of 1004 wickets in Tests and ODIs, shot up to the top slot in the LG ICC Test Rankings.

Muralitharan's nine for 141 in his side's eight-wicket win against Bangladesh not only took him to a combined total of 1004 wickets in Tests and ODIs but also helped him overtake Glenn McGrath at the summit of the listings for bowlers, with the Australian slipping to second place while another Australian, Shane Warne, remains in third spot.

Below the trio is England's Matthew Hoggard. The seam and swing bowler, who was named Man of the Match for his haul of 7-86 in the drawn Test against India in Nagpur, is up six places in the rankings and is now fourth with his best-ever rating points haul.

Meanwhile, groping for his form, Harbhajan Singh has slipped out of top 20. The offie failed to take a wicket in the two Tests he played in the recent series in Pakistan and a match haul of 2-172 in Nagpur has seen him drop six places to 23rd in the bowling list, the first time in five years he has been out of the top 20.

India, however, still have two bowlers among those top 20 positions, Irfan Pathan (11th) and Anil Kumble (13th) while England have three more in addition to Hoggard -- Andrew Flintoff (8th), Stephen Harmison (14th) and the injured Simon Jones (joint 18th).

Muralitharan is one of two Lankan bowlers in the top 20 along with the resting Chaminda Vaas (6th) while Lasith Malinga, who took four wickets in Chittagong, is now 36th and Malinga Bandara is 58th.

Both players are moving up the list and both have their best-ever haul of rating points.

For Bangladesh, Mohammad Rafique, who took two wickets in Chittagong, remains their highest-placed bowler, holding firm in 32nd spot.

Among the batsmen, Sehwag's twin failures in Nagpur have dropped him down one place to 10th in the LG ICC Player Rankings, allowing England's Marcus Trescothick, unavailable for personal reasons, to leapfrog him and move up the list.

Rahul Dravid is still the highest ranked Indian batsman, in sixth place, while Sachin Tendulkar is in 12th. The positions of both players are unchanged after the Nagpur Test. Apart from Trescothick, Englands only other player in the top 20 of the batting list is Andrew Strauss (17th), although Kevin Pietersen is moving up the table, rising five places to 24th spot.

Three players made their maiden Test hundreds in Nagpur and each of them has made big moves in the LG ICC Player Rankings for batsmen.

Paul Collingwood is up 29 places to 54th position, Wasim Jaffer, who was playing his first Test for more than three years, has re-entered the list at 62nd spot and one place behind him is Alastair Cook, whose three-figure score came on debut.

Sri Lanka have two players in the top 20 batting places with acting captain Mahela Jayawardene in 13th position and Kumar Sangakkara 19th.

Bangladesh's best-placed batsman remains captain Habibul Bashar in 39th spot but Mohammed Ashraful has moved up 11 places to 59th after his century in Chittagong and is now just short of his highest-ever mark of rating points.

Australia's Ricky Ponting remains top of the LG ICC Player Rankings for batsmen, ahead of South Africa's Jacques Kallis and Brian Lara of the West Indies.

The top five players in the all-rounder list remain unchanged with Kallis top and Flintoff in second place.

In the LG ICC Test Championship table England, currently in second place, know that victory by one Test (1-0 or 2-1) in their current series will be enough to take them six rating points clear of Dravids line-up.

For India, on the other hand, any series win will take them back ahead of England, a position they surrendered thanks to their series loss in Pakistan a month ago.

Sri Lanka cannot move up that table, even with a win in Bogra to go with their success in Chittagong, but victory in the second Test would earn them one rating point which would move them up to 97, just two points behind sixth-placed South Africa.

LG ICC Test Rankings:

Batsmen: 1. Ricky Ponting, Aus (922) 2. Jacques Kallis, SA (888) 3. Brian Lara, WI (874) 4. Matthew Hayden, Aus (858) 5. Inzamam-ul Haq, Pak (857) 6. Rahul Dravid, Ind (824) 7. Younis Khan, Pak (808) 8. Moh'd Yousuf, Pak (794) 9. Marcus Trescothick, Eng (760) 10. Virender Sehwag, Ind (733)

Bowlers: 1. Muttiah Muralitharan, SL (855), 2. Glenn McGrath, Aus (853) 3. Shane Warne, Aus (842) 4. Matthew Hoggard, Eng (779) 5. Makhaya Ntini, SA (778) 6. Chaminda Vaas, SL (767) 7. Shoaib Akhtar, Pak (766) 8. Andrew Flintoff, Eng (764) 9. Andre Nel, SA (763) 10. Shaun Pollock, SA (742)

All-rounders: 1. Jacques Kallis, SA (496) 2. Andrew Flintoff, Eng (446) 3. Shaun Pollock, SA (340) 4. Irfan Pathan, Ind (300) 5. Daniel Vettori, NZ (279)

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