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Ponting joins the greats after twin hundreds

Published: Thursday, March 30, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Dubai:Ricky Ponting's twin hundreds in Australia's 112-run win over South Africa in Durban have not only ensured that he remains top of the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen but have also given him one of the highest ratings of all-time, putting him in the company of Donald Bradman.

Ponting finished the Test with 937 rating points and that mark has been bettered by only seven players in the history of the game.

He now has a place among some pretty distinguished company with Bradman, perhaps not surprisingly, topping the list of all-time highest-rated players and Matthew Hayden, another centurion in Durban.

Ponting and his Australian side have plenty of other reasons to celebrate after the win in Durban which confirmed their series victory over the Proteas.

A victory in Johannesburg in the third Test starting tomorrow will not only secure a series clean-sweep but also lift the team's rating to 131 points and drop South Africa to 98. This will put the World Champions 18 points clear of nearest rivals England in the Test Championship table.

Ponting's innings of 103 and 116 made him the first Australian batsman to score two hundreds in a Test on three separate occasions and it is the second time he has achieved the feat against South Africa after also doing so in Sydney in January.

It means that, despite Hayden's 102 at Kingsmead, Ponting has moved 60 rating points clear of his team-mate at the top of the Player Rankings for Test batsmen.

The duo are two of six Australians in the top 20 of that list along with Damien Martyn (13th), Mike Hussey (14th), Justin Langer (15th) and Adam Gilchrist -- joint 18th with the West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

In the bowling list, Shane Warne's eight wickets in Durban have shifted him back up one place ahead of Glenn McGrath -- absent from the tour for personal reasons -- and he now lies second behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, currently in action against Pakistan in Colombo.

Warne's team-mate Brett Lee also features in the bowling top 20 in 16th slot, up one place and now with more than 200 Test wickets under his belt. Michael Kasprowicz is 31st and Stuart Clark, with 13 wickets in his first two Tests, has already risen to 40th place.

South Africa's top-ranked batsman remains Jacques Kallis and he has moved up one place in the Rankings to joint second spot alongside Hayden. But with Herschelle Gibbs (21st) and Graeme Smith (23rd) slipping down the list, Kallis is now the Proteas' sole representative in the top 20.

Makhaya Ntini (fourth), Andre Nel (10th) and Shaun Pollock (12th) are South Africa's three players in the top 20 of the bowling list while Kallis, back up two places to 22nd in that table, also remains top of the Player Rankings for all-rounders, ahead of England's Andrew Flintoff.

The wash-out in Napier, where less than one full day's play was possible in the final Test of three between New Zealand and the West Indies, means that series finished 2-0 to the home side. That margin has seen New Zealand improve their rating by one point to 101 and putting them just seven points behind fourth-placed Pakistan in the Championship table. The West Indies have lost one rating point and are now 25 points behind seventh-placed Sri Lanka.

Black Caps fast bowler Shane Bond has slipped two spots in the Rankings for Test bowlers but still remains in the top 10, at number nine, and he is one of two New Zealand bowlers in the top 20, along with left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori.

The West Indies' highest-ranked player on the tour in that list is fast bowler Fidel Edwards in 38th place.

With the bat, Brian Lara's 83 in Napier has shifted him back up one place in the batting list to seventh, while his captain Chanderpaul is 18th and Chris Gayle is 24th.

With the South African duo of Smith and Gibbs dropping down New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has edged into the top 20, in 20th spot even though he did not get the chance to bat in Napier.

Fleming is the highest-ranked batsman for the Black Caps. Nathan Astle is 26th and Scott Styris is 38th.

LG ICC Test rankings:

Top 10 Teams: 1. Australia 129 2. England 113 3. India 111 4. Pakistan 108 5. New Zealand 101 6. South Africa 99 7. Sri Lanka 97 8. West Indies 72 9. Zimbabwe 27 10. Bangladesh 4

Top 10 Batsmen: 1. Ricky Ponting (AUS), 2. Matthew Hayden (AUS), 3. Jacques Kallis (SA), 4. Inzamam-ul Haq (PAK), 5. Rahul Dravid (IND), 6. Younis Khan (PAK), 7. Brian Lara (WI), 8. Mohammad Yousuf (PAK), 9. Marcus Trescothick (ENG), 10. Virender Sehwag (IND)

Top 10 Bowlers: 1. Muttiah Muralitharan (SL), 2. Shane Warne (AUS), 3. Glenn McGrath (AUS), 4. Makhaya Ntini (SA), 5. Matthew Hoggard (ENG), 6. Andrew Flintoff (ENG), 7. Shoaib Akhtar (PAK), 8. Chaminda Vaas (SL), 9. Shane Bond (NZ), 10. Andre Nel (SA)

Top 5 Allrounders: 1. Jacques Kallis (SA), 2. Andrew Flintoff (ENG), 3. Shaun Pollock (SA), 4. Irfan Pathan (IND), 5. Daniel Vettori (NZ).

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