Test Rankings: Sreesanth swells after Joburg spell

Published: Thursday, December 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:Veteran Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble entered the top-five, while S Sreesanth's eight-wicket haul in the Johannesburg Test against South Africa saw him move up 13 places to 35th in the latest LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers.

Sreesanth's match-winning performance made him the biggest mover among the bowlers in the ICC rankings while Kumble also progressed to the fifth spot overtaking Matthew Hoggard, Shane Bond and Andrew Flintoff in the process.

However, Team India skipper Rahul Dravid lost his third spot to England swashbuckler Kevin Pietersen dropping to fourth in the ranking for Test batsmen.

England may have lost the Ashes but it's not all doom and gloom for them as Pietersen has become the highest rated England batsman for more than 40 years and the seventh highest of all time.

The 26-year-old has been a consistent performer so far in the series, making 398 runs in six innings at an average of 79.60. The good form has moved him ahead of Michael Vaughan's best rating of 876 points, achieved during the 2002/03 Ashes series.

Pietersen is now the seventh highest rated England batsman of all time, just one point behind Wally Hammond. Pietersen also has the opportunity to join the exclusive club of batsmen with more than 900 ratings points. Only five England players in history have achieved that milestone.

The only men ahead of him now are Australia captain Ricky Ponting in first position and Pakistan run machine Mohammed Yousuf in second spot. There has been a plenty of movement in the top 20 with no fewer than six batsmen achieving the highest ratings of their careers to date.

Australia middle-order batsman Michael Clarke has moved into the top 20 for the first time, rocketing up 13 places to 13th position after an exceptional Ashes series so far.

Following good individual Ashes performances, Michael Hussey, Ian Bell and Alastair Cook have all moved up in the rankings for Test batsmen while Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara has gone up two places to fifth spot, off the back of Sri Lanka's drawn series in New Zealand. Meanwhile, Australia fast bowler Stuart Clark has moved into the top 20 of the rankings for Test bowlers for the first time, jumping six places to joint 18th position, level with Steve Harmison of England.

Muttiah Muralitharan continues to stretch his lead at the top of the list and is now just two rating points short of his career-best, which he achieved during the 2002 series against Pakistan.

There is no movement at the top of the rankings for Test all-rounders, with Jacques Kallis of South Africa retaining his lead from Andrew Flintoff and Daniel Vettori.

Following the tied series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, the Black Caps have gained one ratings point and have closed the gap on South Africa to a solitary point in the LG ICC Test Championship.

Stephen Fleming's team will draw level or even overtake the Proteas into sixth position if Graeme Smith and his men lose their ongoing series to India.

ICC Test Rankings:

Teams: 1) Australia (130 pts), 2) England (119), 3) Pakistan (112), 4) India (111), 5) Sri Lanka (102), 6) South Africa (94), 7) New Zealand (93), 8) West Indies (72), 9) Zimbabwe (28) and 10) Bangladesh

Batsmen: 1) Ricky Ponting (940 pts), 2) Mohd Yousuf (933), 3) Kevin Pietersen (896), 4) Rahul Dravid (865), 5) Kumar Sangakkara (857), 6) Mike Hussey (835), 7) Brian Lara (801), 8) Jacques Kallis (792), 9) Younis Khan (786) and 10) Matthew Hayden (771)

Bowlers: 1) Muttiah Muralitharan (913), 2) Makhaya Ntini (824), 3) Glenn McGrath (820), 4) Shane Warne (782), 5) Anil Kumble (753), 6) Matthew Hoggard (746), 7) Shane Bond (722), 8) Andrew Flintoff (712), 9) Shoaib Akhtar (700) and 10) Shaun Pollock (697)

All-rounders: 1.Jacques Kallis (449), 2) Andrew Flintoff (399), 3) Daniel Vettori (329), 4) Shaun Pollock (316) and 5) Irfan Pathan (264)


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