Cricket - Philander puts pressure on Steyn in rankings

South Africa paceman Vernon Philander has edged closer to number-one ranked Dale Steyn in the ICC rankings for Test bowlers after his match-winning spell against New Zealand in the Cape Town Test. 

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South Africa's Vernon Philander (R) bowls

Philander ended the Cape Town Test with figures of five for 7 and two for 76 to earn the player of the match award. His spells helped him collect 19 ratings points which not only gave him his career-best ratings of 859 but also allowed him to narrow the gap with Steyn to only 17 ratings points.

The only bowler inside the top 10 to improve his ranking is Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath, who has now gone up a place to be ranked fourth while bowlers outside the top 10 to make upward movements include New Zealand’s Chris Martin in 16th (up by one), Mitchell Starc in 43rd (up by three) and Trent Boult in 44th (up by three).

Meanwhile, South Africa opener Alviro Petersen has broken into the top 20 of the rankings for Test batsmen for the first time in his career.

Petersen has jumped 11 places to claim 20th position for his knock of 106 in the Cape Town Test against New Zealand. His ratings points of 655 are also his career-best to date.

Also moving up the ladder are Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardena in 22nd (up by two), New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum in 25th (up by three), Australia opener Phillip Hughes in 45th (up by eight), South Africa’s Faf du Plessis in 46th (up by one), New Zealand’s Dean Brownlie in 49th (up by 25), Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal in 53rd (up by 10) and Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade in 54th (up by five).

The list is still headed by Michael Clarke, followed by Shivnarine Chanderpaul in second place and Hashim Amla in third. Amla achieved his career-best rating of 878 in the Cape Town Test against New Zealand.

Mike Hussey ended his Test career in 11th place. Hussey last achieved the number-one ranking on the batting table on 3rd April 2008 and is one of seven from Australia after Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Doug Walters, Neil Harvey to break the 900-point barrier. Hussey achieved the rare distinction in 2007-08 after the second Test against India in Sydney after scores of 41 and 145 not out.

Australia’s 3-0 series win over Sri Lanka means it the third-ranked side gained three ratings points which has lifted it to 117 ratings points on the Test Championship.

This, in turn, means Australia has narrowed the gap with second-placed England to just one rating point. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has lost four points but it remains in sixth place, 13 ratings points behind fifth-ranked India.

ICC Test Championship table (after Australia-Sri Lanka Test series)

South Africa               123

England                      118

Australia                     117  (+3)

Pakistan                      109

India                           105

Sri Lanka                    92 (-4)

West Indies                 91

New Zealand              79

Bangladesh                 0

ICC Test Player Rankings (after Cape Town and Sydney Tests)

  1            ( - )          Michael Clarke    Aus         887         52.54     900 v SL at Melbourne 2012

   2           ( - )          S.Chanderpaul     WI          879         51.67     901 v NZ at Napier 2008

   3           ( - )          Hashim Amla       SA           878!       50.83     878 v NZ at Cape Town 2013

   4           ( - )          K Sangakkara      SL           842         55.80     938 v Eng at Kandy 2007

   5           ( - )          Alastair Cook       Eng         836         49.42     874 v Ind at Kolkata 2012

   6           ( - )          Jacques Kallis       SA           828         56.94     935 v NZ at Centurion 2007

   7           ( - )          AB de Villiers        SA           817         49.26     821 v Eng at The Oval 2012

   8           ( - )          Ross Taylor          NZ          777         43.57     785 v SL at Colombo (PSS) 2012

   9           (+1)         Younus Khan       Pak         761         51.69     880 v SL at Lahore 2009

  10         (+1)         Kevin Pietersen    Eng         759         49.42     909 v WI at Headingley 2007

  11         (-2)          Mike Hussey        Aus         758         51.52     921 v WI at Kingston 2008

  12         ( - )          Azhar Ali               Pak         753!       45.27     753 v SL at Pallekele 2012

  13         ( - )          Graeme Smith      SA           730         49.25     843 v Eng at Johannesburg 2010

  14         ( - )          Misbah-ul-Haq    Pak         720         45.68     771 v Eng at Abu Dhabi 2012

  15         ( - )          Jonathan Trott     Eng         709         49.50     856 v SL at Cardiff 2011

  16         ( - )          Matt Prior              Eng         693         43.19     698 v Ind at Ahmedabad 2012

  17         ( - )          Ian Bell                  Eng         680         46.71     822 v Ind at The Oval 2011

  18         ( - )          Marlon Samuels  WI          668!       37.36     668 v Ban at Khulna 2012

  19         ( - )          Darren Bravo       WI          661*      46.77     709 v Aus at Port-of-Spain 2012

  20         (+11)      Alviro Petersen     SA           655*!    42.65     655 v NZ at Cape Town 2013

Bowlers

   1           ( - )          Dale Steyn            SA           876         23.68     902 v SL at Centurion 2011

   2           ( - )          Vernon Philander SA           859*!    17.40     859 v NZ at Cape Town 2013

   3           ( - )          Saeed Ajmal         Pak         832         27.09     836 v SL at Galle 2012

   4           (+1)         Rangana Herath  SL           809         29.95     838 v NZ at Colombo (PSS) 2012

   5           (-1)          Peter Siddle           Aus         800         28.51     806 v SL at Hobart 2012

   6           ( - )          James Anderson  Eng         759         30.39     813 v Ind at Edgbaston 2011

   7           ( - )          Graeme Swann    Eng         755         29.13     858 v Pak at Lord's 2010

   8           ( - )          Morne Morkel      SA           747         29.86     776 v Aus at Cape Town 2011

   9           ( - )          Pragyan Ojha       Ind          739*      31.62     773 v Eng at Kolkata 2012

 10         ( - )          Ben Hilfenhaus    Aus         721*      28.50     757 v WI at Port-of-Spain 2012

  11         ( - )          Abdur Rehman    Pak         704*      28.40     739 v Eng at Dubai 2012

  12         ( - )          Kemar Roach       WI          698*      27.69     712 v NZ at Kingston 2012

  13         ( - )          Stuart Broad         Eng         657         31.93     783 v WI at Lord's 2012

  14         ( - )          Shakib Al Hasan Ban        641         32.53     680 v WI at Mirpur 2011

  15         ( - )          Zaheer Khan        Ind          625         32.35     752 v SA at Durban 2010

  16         (+1)         Chris Martin         NZ          612         33.81     669 v SA at Hamilton 2012

  17         (-1)          Steven Finn           Eng         611*      28.22     621 v SA at Lord's 2012

  18         ( - )          Mitchell Johnson Aus         600         30.63     825 v Eng at Cardiff 2009

  19         ( - )          Umar Gul              Pak         584         33.66     642 v Eng at Dubai 2012

  20=       ( - )          Tim Southee         NZ          566*      35.04     572 v SL at Colombo (PSS) 2012

                (+1)         R Ashwin               Ind          566*      32.41     595 v Eng at Ahmedabad 2012

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