Dubai : South Africa’s AB de Villiers has reached the number-one batting position for the first time in his career where he is joined by Australia captain Michael Clarke in the ICC Test rankings released Friday.
India’s Sachin Tendulkar is at 12th position in the batsmen’s standings while Zaheer Khan is the highest-ranked Indian bowler at 12th.
De Villiers’ move to the top of the batting chart is due to a combination of his own good performances in the Hamilton and Wellington Tests, as well as Kumar Sangakkara’s disappointing show with the bat against England at Galle.
De Villiers scored 83 in South Africa’s nine wickets victory over New Zealand in the Hamilton Test and then followed up with 38 and 68 in the drawn Wellington Test. These performances have helped him earn 35 ratings points which have given him a career-best rating of 821 and a lift of two places.
Sangakkara, who had entered the Galle Test as the number-one ranked Test batsman, scored nought and 14 in Sri Lanka’s 75 runs victory over England. This meant the former Sri Lanka captain has dropped from 850 ratings points to 813 ratings point which cost him three places in the table.
Jacques Kallis, de Villiers’ team-mate, has also slipped one position to third after managing just six runs in his only innings in Hamilton and then missing the Wellington Test.
So the fall of Kallis and Sangakkara has helped Michael Clarke regain the number-one position -a week before he leads his side in the three-Test series against the West Indies. It is the second time Clarke has headed the batting table after he first topped the batting list in August 2009 after he scored 93 against England in Australia’s victory by an innings and 80 runs in the Leeds Test.
In the bowlers’ rankings, South Africa’s Vernon Philander has continued to climb up the chart. The fast bowler had figures of four for 70 and six for 44 in Hamilton and six for 81 and none for 29 in Wellington.
Philander has gained 148 ratings points which has not only given him a career-best rating of 764 but also led to a jump of 11 places which puts him in a career-best fifth position.
He is the third South Africa bowler inside the top 10 with Dale Steyn firmly holding the number-one position and Morne Morkel in 10th spot after slipping one place.
Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath is the other bowler to earn a career-best rating and ranking. The left-arm spinner took six for 74 and six for 97 for which he earned 92 ratings points which has put him on 752 ratings points and a seventh position in the bowling charts after a rise of six places.
Meanwhile, England find themselves in a must-win situation in the Colombo Test if they have to retain their number-one position in the ICC Test Championship table. England’s victory will keep them ahead of South Africa by a fraction of a point but a failure to win the Test will make South Africa as the new number-one side.
If England lose the series 2-0, they will drop from 118 ratings points to 113 ratings points – three points behind South Africa – while a 1-0 defeat will mean they will slip to 114 ratings points.
Australia will also be eyeing to gain, at least, one place on the Test Championship table when they take on the West Indies in the three-Test series starting in Bridgetown April 7.
While a series win will put it ahead of India in third position, a 3-0 series win will put Australia on equal points with England on 113 ratings points (if England lose 2-0 to Sri Lanka). And when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point, then Australia will be placed above England in second position as they will have a rating of 113.10 against England’s rating of 113.045.