Pak replaces England at no. 2 in Test Rankings

Published: Wednesday, July 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:Pakistan received a morale booster ahead of the four-Test away series against England when they displaced the Poms from the second place in the annual update of the LG ICC Test Rankings here today.

Thanks to a succession of excellent series results, which included wins against England, India and Sri Lanka, Inzamam's side is now just 10 points behind the leaders Australia (130) and a clean sweep over hosts England in the series beginning tomorrow would put it within three points of the Aussies.

However, if England wins the series, it will move back above Pakistan while a 4-0 home success would move it to within 10 points of Australia and drop Pakistan into fourth place, below India who are currently four rating points behind England (113).

Both sides are struggling with injuries to key bowlers ahead of the series with England missing Simon Jones, Ashley Giles, Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson and also facing up to the possibility of being without Matthew Hoggard, who cut his bowling hand in a freak accident over the weekend.

But Pakistan is barely better off as it is missing Shoaib Ahktar and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and has injury clouds hovering over Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Asif.

Hoggard is the highest-placed player on either side in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, in fifth place. Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria lies in 13th spot while Stephen Harmison, fit again after missing the Sri Lanka Test series with a leg injury, is 17th.

On the batting front, however, Pakistan looks like it has an edge with three players -- Inzamam-ul Haq (fourth), Younis Khan (sixth) and Mohammad Yousuf (joint seventh with Australia's Michael Hussey) -- in the top ten of the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.

Englands top-ranked batsman is Kevin Pietersen in ninth spot, fit again after missing two ODIs against Sri Lanka with bruising to his left knee, while Marcus Trescothick is 11th and acting captain Andrew Strauss lies 14th.

The batting list is headed by Australias Ricky Ponting, clear of Rahul Dravid. Virender Sehwag at 16th spot is the only other Indian in the top 20.

Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is the leading bowler ahead of fast bowler Makhaya Ntini of South Africa. Amon the Indians, Anil Kumble occupies the eighth spot and Irfan Pathan is at 15th.

LG ICC Test Championship (for series completed up to August 1, 2006): Rank Team: 1 Australia (130), 2 Pakistan (120), 3 England (113), 4 India (111), 5 Sri Lanka (99), 6 South Africa (98), 7 New Zealand (92), 8 West Indies (72), 9 Zimbabwe (28), 10 Bangladesh (2) Batsmen: 1 Ricky Ponting (931), 2 Rahul Dravid (882), 3 Jacques Kallis (832), 4 Inzamam-ul-Haq (831), 5 Matthew Hayden (808), 6 Younis Khan (796) 7 Mohammad Yousuf (780) and Mike Hussey (780), 9 Kevin Pietersen (746), 10 Brian Lara (732).

Bowlers: 1 Muralitharan (901), 2 Makhaya Ntini (841), 3 Shane Warne (813), 4 Glenn McGrath (811), 5 Matthew Hoggard (780), 6 Andrew Flintoff (767), 7 Shoaib Akhtar (751), 8 Anil Kumble (736) 9 Shane Bond (720) 10 Chaminda Vaas and Corey Collymore (both 700) LG ICC Test all-rounder: 1 Jacques Kallis, 2 Andrew Flintoff, 3 Shaun Pollock, 4 Daniel Vettori, 5 Chaminda Vaas

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