Lanka eye chance of betterment in Rankings

Published: Sunday, March 26, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:If Sri Lanka can find some form in their upcoming Test series against Pakistan and other results go in their favour then they have a chance of entering into the top six of the LG ICC Test Championship table over the next two weeks.

Sri Lanka are currently seventh in that table but if they win both Tests against Inzamam-ul-Haq's side, the first starts in Colombo today, they could find themselves as high as fifth.

Victories in these matches would lift their rating from its current mark of 97 to 102 points and that would be enough to take Sri Lanka ahead of both sixth-placed South Africa and New Zealand, in fifth, given a certain set of results in their ongoing series.

To insure against that happening, New Zealand need to win their final Test against the West Indies in Napier while South Africa will have to improve upon their first Test loss against Australia over the next two matches, the first of which is ongoing in Durban.

Only three rating points separate the three sides.

Above them are fourth placed Pakistan and two Test wins in Sri Lanka will put them within touching distance of third-placed India.

Pakistan start the series with 108 rating points, unbeaten in their last four series and victorious in the last two of them with both of those successes coming against sides above them in the table -- 2-0 v England and 1-0 v India.

A 2-0 series victory in Sri Lanka will lift Pakistan's rating to 111 points and level with India, although they will remain below their arch-rivals when the ratings are recalculated to three decimal places.

Both sides start the series with injuries to key fast bowlers.

Pakistan's highest ranked bowler, Shoaib Akhtar (eighth), is absent after knee surgery while ninth-ranked Chaminda Vaas, is a major doubt for the home team because of a side strain.

Despite this, both line-ups can still boast one other bowler in the top 20 of the Test Rankings with Sri Lanka's spin-wizard Muttiah Muralitharan topping the list while leg-spinner Danish Kaneria of Pakistan is in 14th position.

Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq is 30th in the bowling table with a career-best tally of rating points.

Sri Lanka are handicapped by the absence of their captain Marvan Atapattu with a back injury -- he is ranked joint 36th in the batting list, alongside South Africa's A B De Villiers -- and will be led by Mahela Jayawardene, their highest-placed batsman in 11th spot.

He is one of two home players among the top 20 batsmen along with Kumar Sangakkara (19th) and in this department Pakistan definitely appear to have the edge. They can boast three players in the top 10 of the Player Rankings for Test batsmen with captain Inzamam (fourth) joined by Younis Khan (sixth) and Mohammad Yousuf (seventh).

In the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders, Sanath Jayasuriya is in sixth place and Chaminda Vaas is seventh, ahead of the Pakistan duo of Shahid Afridi (10th) and Razzaq (11th).

Australia's Ricky Ponting leads the Rankings for Test batsmen ahead of team-mate Matthew Hayden and Jacques Kallis of South Africa, while Muralitharan leads the bowling table, followed by the Australian duo of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

Kallis is the leading Test all-rounder ahead of England's Andrew Flintoff.

LG ICC Test Rating:

Top teams1.Australia 129 2.England 113 3.India 111 4.Pakistan 108 5.New Zealand 100 6.South Africa 99 7.Sri Lanka 97 8.West Indies 73 9.Zimbabwe 27 10.Bangladesh 4

Top 10 Batsmen: 1.Ricky Ponting(Aus) 916, 2.Matthew Hayden(Aus) 876, 3.Jacques Kallis(SA) 874, 4.Inzamam-ul Haq(Pak) 857, 5.Rahul Dravid(Ind) 842, 6.Younis Khan(Pak)808, 7.Mohammad Yousuf(Pak) 794, 8.Brian Lara(WI) 792, 9.Marcus Trescothick(Eng) 745, 10.Virender Sehwag(Ind) 702

Top 10 Bowlers: 1.Muttiah Muralitharan(SL) 854, 2.Glenn McGrath(Aus) 844, 3.Shane Warne(Aus) 822, 4.Makhaya Ntini(SA) 794, 5.Matthew Hoggard(Eng) 780, 6.Andrew Flintoff(Eng) 777, 7.Shane Bond(NZ) 770, 8.Shoaib Akhtar(Pak) 766, 9.Chaminda Vaas(SL) 760, 10.Andre Nel(SA) 753

Top five all-rounders: 1.Jacques Kallis(SA) 508, 2.Andrew Flintoff(Eng) 495, 3.Shaun Pollock(SA) 333, 4.Irfan Pathan(Ind) 295, 5.Daniel Vettori(NZ) 280.

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