South Africa aims to regain top Test ranking

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- South Africa aims to regain the Number One Test ranking in the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship when it goes head to head with England in the four-Test series at Centurion on Wednesday.

South Africa, which lost its coveted position to India on 6 December, will need to beat England by 2-0 or better to reclaim the top spot which it had taken over from Australia after Ricky Ponting’s side lost the Ashes earlier this summer.

A 2-0 or 3-1 series win will put South Africa on par with India but ahead of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point while a 4-0 series win will take Graeme Smith’s side to 127 ratings points.

In contrast, England has a chance to leapfrog South Africa into fourth position but for that to happen, Andrew Strauss’s side will need to win all its matches in the series. A 4-0 series win will put England alongside South Africa on 113 ratings points but ahead of the Proteas when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.

While a convincing 2-0 or 3-1 series win will strengthen England’s hold on fifth position, it will affect South Africa’s ranking the hosts would drop to 116 ratings points and possibly in third position, depending how the Perth Test between Australia and the West Indies pans out.

Meanwhile, rain has thwarted New Zealand’s chances of swapping places with Pakistan after the Napier Test ended in a draw. New Zealand, chasing 208 to win the Test and the series 2-1 in a minimum of 43 overs, was 90 for no wicket and required another 118 runs from a minimum of 23 overs when steady rain ended the contest.

A victory in Napier would have lifted New Zealand to fifth place on 84 ratings points while pushing Pakistan to sixth position on 78 ratings point. But in the end, the Black Caps had to settle for gaining one ratings point while Pakistan stayed sixth on 83 ratings points.

In the latest Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen issued on Tuesday, Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf and New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor have slipped one place each to sixth and 10th respectively.

The batsmen to gain most from the Napier Test include New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, who has achieved his career-best 25th ranking after improving by two places, Umar Akmal 38th (up by five places), Imran Farhat 39th (up by 10 places) and Faisal Iqbal 71st (up by nine places) while the batsmen to lose ground are Misbah-ul-Haq 45th (down by seven places) and Daniel Flynn 74th (down by four places).

South Africa boasts Graeme Smith (seventh), Jacques Kallis (11th), Ashwell Prince (13th) and AB de Villiers (14th) while England only has Strauss (14th) and Kevin Pietersen (17th) inside the top 20.

Batsmen from both the sides out of the top 20 and eyeing an upward movement include Hashim Amla (27th), Alastair Cook (28th), Paul Collingwood (31st), Matt Prior (35th), Ian Bell (36th) and Mark Boucher (50th).

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, Pakistan’s Danish Kaneria has climbed two places to 13th after match figures of 7-189 while New Zealand fast bowler Iain O’Brien has retired in 21st position after rising five places following match figures of 6-143.

Those failing to maintain their rankings include Mohammad Asif, who has dropped one place to fifth, Vettori, who has slipped two places to 13th, and Umar Gul who has dropped three places to 24th.

The bowlers’ list is headed by South Africa’s Dale Steyn while Makhaya Ntini, who will be playing in his 100th Test, is in fourth position followed by Paul Harris (ninth), James Anderson (11th), Graeme Swann (12th), Stuart Broad (14th), Ryan Sidebottom (16th) and Kallis (19th).

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Player Rankings for all-rounders, Kallis leads the field with England’s Broad in fifth position.

The series schedule is

16-20 Dec – First Test, Centurion
26-30 Dec – Second Test, Durban
 3-7 Jan – Third Test, Cape Town
14-18 Jan – Fourth Test, Johannesburg
 
Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship (as of 15 December, after Pakistan-New Zealand Test series and before the start of South Africa-England Test series)

Rank   Team              Rating
 1        India                 124
 2        South Africa      122
 3        Australia           116
 4        Sri Lanka          115
 5        England            105
 6        Pakistan             83
 7        New Zealand       81
 8        West Indies        76
 9       Bangladesh         13

(Developed by David Kendix)

Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship (as of 15 December, after Pakistan-New Zealand Test series and before the start of South Africa-England Test series)

Batsmen
Rank      (+/-)        Player                    Team     Pts          Ave      HS Rating
 1           ( - )         G. Gambhir             Ind      877         56.73     886 v SL at Kanpur 2009
 2           ( - )         M. Jayawardena      SL       836         53.96     883 v Ind at Ahmedabad 2009
 3           ( - )         K. Sangakkara        SL       835         55.10     938 v Eng at Kandy 2007
 4           ( - )         Michael Clarke         Aus      814         50.32     855 v Eng at Headingley 2009
 5           ( - )         Virender Sehwag      Ind      804         52.50     854 v SA at Kolkata 2004
 6           (-1)         M. Yousuf                Pak      793         54.12     933 v WI at Karachi 2006
 7           (+1)        Graeme Smith          SA       782         50.33     810 v Aus at Melbourne 2008
 8           (-1)         Younus Khan           Pak      777         50.09     880 v SL at Lahore 2009
 9           (+1)        S.Chanderpaul         WI       773         48.70     901 v NZ at Napier 2008
10          (-1)         Ross Taylor             NZ       763         42.15     775 v Pak at Wellington 2009
11          ( - )         Jacques Kallis         SA       755         54.66     935 v NZ at Centurion 2007
12          ( - )         Ricky Ponting          Aus      754         55.61     942 v Eng at Adelaide 2006
13          ( - )         Ashwell Prince         SA       742         47.29     756 v Pak at Centurion 2007
14=        ( - )         Andrew Strauss       Eng      740         44.62     769 v SA at Johannesburg 2005
             ( - )          AB de Villiers          SA       740!        43.92     740 v Aus at Cape Town 2009
16         ( - )          Rahul Dravid             Ind      728         53.60     892 v Pak at Kolkata 2005
17         ( - )          Kevin Pietersen        Eng      727         49.96     909 v WI at Headingley 2007
18         ( - )          S. Tendulkar             Ind      723         54.72     898 v Zim at Nagpur 2002
19         ( - )          VVS Laxman            Ind      708         45.50     753 v Aus at Sydney 2004
20         ( - )          T. Samaraweera       SL       707         51.14     747 v Ind at Kanpur 2009

Bowlers
Rank      (+/-)        Player                Team      Pts      Avge      Econ      HS Rating
 1        ( - )        Dale Steyn              SA        844      23.70     897       v Ind at Ahmedabad 2008
 2        ( - )        M. Johnson             Aus       783      28.58     825       v Eng at Cardiff 2009
 3        ( - )        M. Muralidaran        SL        752      22.71     920       v Ban at Kandy 2007
 4        (+1)         Makhaya Ntini       SA        741      28.37     863       v Ind at Durban 2006
 5        (-1)         M. Asif                  Pak       722*     22.22     743       v NZ at Wellington 2009
 6        ( - )        Harbhajan Singh     Ind       712      30.82     765       v NZ at Wellington 2002
 7        ( - )        Stuart Clark           Aus       696*     23.86     863       v WI at Bridgetown 2008
 8        ( - )        Shane Bond           NZ        676*     22.09     778       v WI at Auckland 2006
 9        ( - )        Paul Harris            SA        669*!    32.60     669       v Aus at Cape Town 2009
10        ( - )        Zaheer Khan         Ind       666      33.96     689       v Pak at Delhi 2007
11        ( - )        James Anderson   Eng       643      34.87     710       v Aus at Edgbaston 2009
12        ( - )        Graeme Swann     Eng       634*!    30.39     634       v Aus at The Oval 2009
13        (+2)         Danish Kaneria    Pak       622      33.84     723       v Eng at Multan 2005
14        ( - )        Stuart Broad          Eng       617*!    35.78     617       v Aus at The Oval 2009
15        (-2)         Daniel Vettori        NZ        613      33.61     681       v Aus at Auckland 2000
16        ( - )        R. Sidebottom       Eng       610*     27.70     769       v SA at Lord's 2008
17        ( - )        Brett Lee              Aus       609      30.81     811       v WI at Antigua 2008
18        ( - )        Jerome Taylor       WI        604*     35.64     717       v Eng at Kingston 2009
19        ( - )        Jacques Kallis      SA        603      31.08     742       v Eng at Headingley 2003
20        ( - )        Chris Martin          NZ        592      33.61     643       v Eng at Lord's 2004

 

All-rounders

Rank      (+/-)        Player               Team     Pts       HS Rating
 1        ( - )        Jacques Kallis       SA       455       616 v Pak at Durban 2002
 2        ( - )        Daniel Vettori         NZ       412!      412 v Pak at Napier 2009
 3        ( - )        Mitchell Johnson    Aus      323*/     384 v Eng at Cardiff 2009
 4        ( - )        Shakib Al Hasan    Ban      282*/*!   282 v WI at St George's 2009
 5        ( - )        Stuart Broad          Eng      278*/*!   278 v Aus at The Oval 2009