Ranking: Aussies register highest ever rating

Published: Monday, January 8, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:Thanks to the 1-2 defeat in South Africa, India has slipped four rating points although Rahul Dravid's side is still in fourth place, while Australia's Ashes whitewash saw them register highest ever rating at the top of LG ICC Test Championship ladder.

Meanwhile, comeback man Sourav Ganguly, India's best batsman in South Africa is back in the top 40, while VVS Laxman too moved up to the 25th place in the batting rankings, which has, in Dravid, the sole Indian representation in the top 10 at the seventh spot.

The extra-ordinary run drought in South Africa saw Sachin Tendulkar slip to 23, while out-of-form Virender Sehwag is placed 27th.

The bowling chart presents equally gloomy picture with Anil Kumble, who failed to live up to expectations in Cape Town Test, hanging on to his fifth place, while Irfan Pathan, who was sent home midway through the tour, is at 18.

Harbhajan Singh, reduced to a bench-warmer in the Protea land, is 25, followed by the impressive pace duo of S Sreesanth (27) and Zaheer Khan (29).

Irfan Pathan's cup of woes is full to the brim with Shane Warne, now retired, edging him out of the top five all-rounders' list.

Meanwhile, Australia has stretched its lead at the top of the LG ICC Test Championship to 21 points after its 5-0 defeat of closest rivals England in the recent Ashes series.

The dominance of Ponting's side has seen it gain five rating points, lifting it to 135, the highest rating since the LG ICC Test Championship assumed its current format in 2003.

It also gives Australia its biggest lead at the top of the LG ICC Test Championship since May 2005 when, ahead of the previous Ashes series, it was 22 rating points clear of second-placed England.

England is still clinging on to second place in the Test table but Pakistan will draw level if it beats South Africa 2-0 and Inzamam-ul Haq's team will overtake it if it can manage a clean sweep of victories in the three-Test series that gets underway in Centurion on Thursday.

India is now five points behind Pakistan and five points clear of fifth-placed Sri Lanka.

The Proteas' success against India has seen it gain four rating points and while that has not meant an improvement in the side's sixth place on the table, it does mean South Africa is now within striking distance of Sri Lanka.

A series win by just one match against Pakistan will see it equal Sri Lanka's points haul and if Graeme Smith's side manages to defeat Pakistan 2-0 or 3-0 then it move into fifth place in the table as well as putting pressure on Pakistan and India.

Smith will also be riding high on confidence after a return to form with the bat. A man-of-the-match contribution of 94 and 55 in the third Test at Cape Town has lifted the left-hander up 10 places to 18th position in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.

He is joined in the top 20 by England's Ian Bell, up six places to 17th position, despite his side being beaten by 10 wickets in the final Ashes Test at Sydney.

There are no movers in the top 10 Test batting slots with Ponting still on top, followed by Mohammed Yousuf of Pakistan and England's Kevin Pietersen.

Further down the table, India opener Wasim Jaffer has moved up 15 places to 51st following his century in the first innings of the Cape Town Test, the third hundred of his career to date. For the bowlers, Australia's Stuart Clark has moved into the top 10 for the first time in the wake of a very successful Ashes series. The 31-year-old New South Welshman captured 26 wickets against England and after just nine Test matches Clark has already taken 47 wickets at an average of 17.80.

Shaun Pollock of South Africa is another player moving in the right direction in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers. The former captain, named man of the series against India, has risen one place to ninth spot in the list but he is not the highest ranked South Africa player. That honour still goes to fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, who remains in second position.

Ntini still trails Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan at the head of that list with the retiring duo of Glenn McGrath and Warne bowing out of Test cricket in third and fourth positions, respectively.

Brett Lee has moved up five places to 15th place in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers and is now just short of his best-ever rating, achieved more than six years ago, while England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar have slipped out of the top 10.

Just as he has decided to hang up his boots, Warne has established himself as one of the top all-rounders in the game. The player, who has scored more Test runs than anyone else in history without recording a hundred in that form of the game, has moved into the top five in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders also, edging out Irfan Pathan.

LG ICC Test Championships:

Teams:1. Australia (135) 2. England (114) 3. Pakistan (112) 4. India (107) 5. Sri Lanka (102) 6. South Africa (98) 7. New Zealand (93) 8. West Indies (72) 9. Zimbabwe (28) 10. Bangladesh (2)

Batsmen: 1. Ricky Ponting, AUS (936) 2. Mohammad Yousuf, PAK (933) 3. Kevin Pietersen, ENG (870) 4 Kumar Sangakkara, SL (857) 5. Mike Hussey, AUS (842) 6. Matthew Hayden, AUS (828) 7. Rahul Dravid, IND (816) 8. Brian Lara, WI (801) 9. Younis Khan, PAK (786) 10. Jacques Kallis, SA (783)

Bowlers: 1. Muttiah Muralitharan, SL (913) 2. Makhaya Ntini, SA (833) 3. Glenn McGrath, AUS (829) 4. Shane Warne, AUS (785) 5. Anil Kumble, IND (731) 6. Mathew Hoggard, ENG (725) 7. Shane Bond, NZ (722) 8. Stuart Clark, AUS (720) 9. Shaun Pollock, SA (710) 10. Andrew Flintoff, ENG (708)

All-rounders: 1. Jacques Kallis, SA (433) 2. Andrew Flintoff, ENG (415) 3. Shaun Pollock, SA (345) 4. Daniel Vettori, NZ (328) 5. Shane Warne, AUS (273) 6. Irfan Pathan, IND (254) 7. Chaminda Vaas, SL (252) 8. Chris Gayle, WI (230) 9. Sanath Jayasuriya, SL (206) 10. Brett Lee, AUS (201)


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