Laxman, Zaheer achieve career-best rankings
The match-winning 96-run knock in the Durban Test today catapulted VVS Laxman to a career-best ninth in the batting chart while paceman Zaheer Khan's good show also helped him touch his career-best mark of number four in the bowling list of latest ICC rankings.cricket Updated: Dec 30, 2010 20:54 IST
The match-winning 96-run knock in the Durban Test on Thursday catapulted VVS Laxman to a career-best ninth in the batting chart while paceman Zaheer Khan's good show also helped him touch his career-best mark of number four in the bowling list of latest ICC rankings.
Laxman's effort in the second innings played a pivotal role in India's 87-run win, which helped India level the three-match series 1-1, and also pushed him six places up.
It is for the first time that Laxman has entered into the top-10 zone.
The wristy Hyderabadi is now the third Indian batsman inside the top-10 with Sachin Tendulkar sitting in the second position and Virender Sehwag occupying the fourth spot.
Zaheer Khan recorded figures of 3-36 and 3-57 in India's win at Durban and has been rewarded with a jump of three places which puts him along side James Anderson of England.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has also improved his ranking by two places and is now in eighth position after match figures of 6-80.
Paceman S Sreesanth jumped six places to 27th position after match figures of 4-86. In contrast, South Africa's top four batsmen failed to retain their places.
Jacques Kallis slipped to fifth (down by two places), AB de Villiers to sixth (down by one place), Hashim Amla to 12th (down by three places) and Graeme Smith to 14th (down by three places).
For South Africa, the only consolation is that Dale Steyn has strengthened his number-one ranking by opening up 83 points advantage over his closest rival, Graeme Swann of England.
Steyn is now just three ratings points away from reaching the 900-point mark. Steyn took 6-50 and 2-60, for which he earned 21 ratings points giving him a career-best rating of 897.
If Steyn manages to earn three more ratings points in Cape Town, he will become only the second South Africa bowler after Shaun Pollock (November 1999) and 20th overall to reach the 900-point mark which, in rankings terms, is the benchmark for top bowlers.
Meanwhile England's Jonathan Trott, whose undefeated 168 helped England to take a 415-run first innings lead which eventually resulted in an innings and 157 runs victory over Australia, has climbed seven places to claim third position.
Trott is now just nine ratings points behind Tendulkar. The two can swap places depending on how they perform in the final Tests of the series which start in Sydney and Cape Town, respectively next week.
The other England batsmen moving in the right direction are Alastair Cook in 13th position (up by one place) and Kevin Pietersen in 21st spot (up by four places).
The news is not very good for Australia whose top-order batsmen have taken a dive in the rankings.
Mike Hussey has dropped four places to share 10th position with Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera, Shane Watson has fallen two places to 15th spot. Michael Clarke has slipped three places to 24th position and Ricky Ponting has dropped to 29th place, one behind England captain Andrew Strauss.