Aussies retain lead in ICC Test team rankings

Published: Friday, April 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:Australia's 2-0 series win over Bangladesh has seen them retain their 18-point lead at the top of the LG ICC Test Championship table, while defeat in both matches has seen Bangladesh's rating drop one point to three keeping the minnows at the bottom of the list.

Ponting, after having lost the top spot in the batting list to Indian stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is one of the six Australian batsmen among the top 20 along with Matthew Hayden (5th), Michael Hussey --up one place to eighth after his hundred in Chittagong.

Jason Gillespie's double century has not lifted him into the top 100 batsmen but with Brett Lee 94th, Shane Warne 102nd and Gillespie 105th then Australia's batting has strength in depth.

Warne has moved up one spot to third in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, overtaking his absent colleague Glenn McGrath, while Stuart MacGill is 16th, Gillespie is 17th and Lee is 18th after the Bangladesh series.

The leading Bangladesh batsman in the list is captain Habibul Bashar in 32nd spot while Shahriar Nafees continues his rise, up seven places to 52nd, and Rajin Saleh is up six places to 67th.

Saleh has his best-ever haul of rating points and the same is true of Mohammad Rafique, whose defiant half-century delayed his side's defeat on the final day of the second Test. He is up 10 places to 79th.

Rafique is in 27th place in the bowling table and he is the highest-placed Bangladesh player in that list. He is also in the 13th spot in the all-rounders list and if he enters the top 10, he would be the first player from his country to do so.

Meanwhile, South African pacer Makhaya Ntini is closing in on the top spot in the Rankings for Test bowlers after taking his second 10-wicket haul in successive Tests in the Proteas' victory over New Zealand at Centurion.

The fast bowler has retained his second place in the list and is now just 17 rating points behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, who heads the list.

Ntini is one of three South African fast bowlers in the top 20 with Andre Nel 11th and Shaun Pollock one place further back.

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