BRISBANE, Australia -- Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena has achieved the Number 1 ranking in the Reliance Mobile International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Player Rankings for Test batsmen for the first time in his career after an epic double-century in the drawn first Test against India at Ahmedabad earlier this week.
The 32-year-old from Colombo scored a masterly 275 – his sixth double-century in 108 Tests – to leapfrog team-mate Kumar Sangakkara and India opener Gautam Gambhir. Jayawardena, who during his mammoth knock became only the ninth batsman to complete 9 000 Test runs, is just 17 points short of becoming only the 25th batsman overall to reach the 900-point mark which, in ranking terms, is the benchmark for top batsmen.
Before Jayawardena, Australia’s Mike Hussey was the last batsman to reach the 900-point mark in the 131-year history of Test cricket when he achieved the rare distinction after the Sydney Test against India in January 2008.
Sangakkara scored 31 in Ahmedabad while Gambhir scored 1 and 114 which means that only seven points separate the two left-handers. With the second Test starting in Kanpur from Tuesday, both the stylish batsmen would be aiming to stamp their superiority over the other.
Also on the charge are the five other centurions from the Ahmedabad Test.
India’s iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar has moved up by one place to share 15th spot with England’s Kevin Pietersen, Tillakaratne Dilshan has achieved a career-best 18th position by improving his ranking by three places, Rahul Dravid has jumped five places to sit just outside the top 20 in 21st position, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has leaped three places to 30th spot and Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Prasanna Jayawardena has vaulted 20 places to 60th position.
In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, the only change in the top 20 is Harbhajan Singh who has slipped one place to sixth in the latest rankings while the gap between number-one ranked Dale Steyn of South Africa and Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralidaran’s has opened from 20 points to 31 points. Harbhajan took 2-189 in the first Test while Muralidaran had match figures of 3-221.
There is no change in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders as Jacques Kallis of South Africa continues to lead New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori and Mitchell Johnson of Australia.
Meanwhile, two series begin this week with the three-Test series between Pakistan and New Zealand beginning in Dunedin from Tuesday and Australia hosting the West Indies for a three-Test series with the opener in Brisbane from Thursday.
In the Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship table, Pakistan sits in sixth position on 84 ratings points with New Zealand four points behind in seventh place and the West Indies in eighth-position on 76 ratings points.
If Pakistan sweep the series, they rocket to 93 ratings points while Vettori’s side will slip to 74 points. However, if the series result is reversed, New Zealand will rise to 87 points and Pakistan will be guaranteed eighth-position on 74 ratings points irrespective how Australia and the West Indies series pans out.