This is the first time AB de Villiers has reached the top of the Test rankings for batsmen. (Getty Images)
Dubai: AB de Villiers and Michael Clarke have jointly displaced Kumar Sangakkara – who scored 0 and 14 in the recent Galle Test – at the top of the ICC’s rankings for Test batsmen, following their strong showings in South Africa’s and Australia’s most recent Test series.
Scores of 83 in South Africa’s nine-wicket win in Hamilton and 38 and 68 in the drawn third Test in Wellington gave de Villiers 35 points and a jump of two places to reach No. 1 for the first time in his 74-match career. While Clarke has not played Test cricket since January – when Australia beat India 4-0 – he has gained from Sangakkara’s poor show in Galle, moving up to share the top spot with de Villiers. This is the second time Clarke has reached No. 1 in the ICC’s rankings for Test batsmen, the previous instance being in August 2009.
Mahela Jayawardene and Jonathan Trott, who scored centuries in the Galle Test, were the biggest movers in the last few days. Jayawardene, who made 180 in the first innings, gained seven places to move to 19th, while Trott, who scored a fourth-innings century in a losing cause, has moved up six places to No. 9. New Zealand’s captain Ross Taylor gained three places to move to No. 10.
Jacques Kallis has lost his second position and is now down to third following an average in New Zealand. The other batsmen to slip are South Africa captain Graeme Smith (12th), England’s Alastair Cook (14th), Kevin Pietersen (22nd) and Matt Prior (24th) and New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum (25th).
In the rankings for bowlers, South Africa’s Vernon Philander has been the biggest beneficiary with a jump of 11 places to fifth, a career-best position for him. He is the third South Africa bowler in the top 10, with Dale Steyn firmly holding the No. 1 position and Morne Morkel at 10th after slipping one place. Sri Lanka’s left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, Man of the Match in Galle for his 12 wickets, also rose six places to seventh, a career-best ranking for him.
England retained their No. 1 status in the teams’ rankings despite a poor show in the first Test. They will have to win the second Test in Colombo to retain their position. If England lose the series 2-0, they will drop from 118 ratings points to 113– three points behind South Africa – while a 1-0 defeat will see them slip to 114 ratings points.
Australia, who begin their three-Test series against hosts West Indies next month, will replace India at third in case of a series win. However, if they win 3-0 and England lose 2-0 against Sri Lanka, both teams will be equal on 113 ratings points. In that case, the Aussies will take the second place on the basis of calculation beyond the decimal point.