The 27-year-old from Ranchi was the leading run-scorer in the five-match series with 193 runs that made sure his side clinched its first-ever ODI series in Sri Lanka and in the process reclaimed the No.1 spot from the incumbant Smith.
Dhoni, who won the player-of-the-series award, was on top of the batting list for a week in April 2006 and is the first Indian batsman to head the batting chart since Sachin Tendulkar following the tri-series in Australia in March earlier this year.
Tendulkar, however, has dropped three places to ninth in the latest rankings after missing the series in Lanka because of elbow injury. A player loses one per cent of his rating for missing every match.
Yuvraj Singh is the third Indian batsmen in the top 20 but the left-hander has dropped three places after scoring just 72 runs in the series and shares 18th position with England"s Ian Bell who has jumped seven places after a series of good performances in the first three ODIs against South Africa so far.
Besides Dhoni, Suresh Raina is the only other India batsman to improve his batting ranking. The 21-year-old left-handed batsman scored 157 runs in the series and was rewarded by rising 18 places to 35th position.
Virender Sehwag, who missed the ODI series due to an ankle injury, stays in 29th place but his opening partner Gautam Gambhir has dropped six places to 28th after scoring just 36 runs in the series.
Left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan has become his country"s highest ranked bowler in 14th place. The 29-year-old left-armer took nine wickets in the series and has stormed into the top 20 after jumping eight places.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh improved his ranking by six places and now sits in 23rd position.
P, Freddie move up: England captain Kevin Pietersen has jumped five places to seventh position after knocks of 90 not out and one against South Africa. The Hampshire batsman can leapfrog Pakistan"s Mohammad Yousuf and Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the
West Indies if he produces a couple more good knocks in the last two ODIs.
Pietersen's team-mate Andrew Flintoff has struck gold in the latest rankings. The Lancastrian has surged to the top of all-rounders chart after jumping six places.
The 30-year-old achieved the feat after climbing 10 places to 38th in the batting list and lifting four places to 13th position in the bowling chart. In the three ODIs so far, Flintoff has scored 156 runs and taken seven wickets.