Asif claims second position in ICC Test rankings

New Delhi: Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif has climbed two places to second position in the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers despite his side`s defeat in the first Test against Australia at Lord`s.

Asif took 3-63 in the first innings at Lord`s and 3-77 in the second and has managed to move ahead of ICC Cricketer of the Year, Mitchell Johnson, who has now slipped to fourth place after the Australian only took one wicket in the match.

It is the 27-year-old`s highest ranking to date, but he still has some way to go if he wants to catch South Africa`s Dale Steyn who currently tops the list.

Further down the table, Asif`s team-mate Umar Gul has broken into the top 20 after leaping five places to occupy joint 18th place alongside Australia`s Peter Siddle.

Meanwhile, Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has vaulted nine places to take 43rd place after he took a career-best 5-40 during the match.

Watson`s team-mate Marcus North rises 28 places to 61st after he took a career-best 6-55 to help seal victory for the Australians.

In the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, the most noticeable mover is Australia`s Simon Katich who has risen six places to take joint sixth place with West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Katich`s innings of 80 and 83 have seen the 34-year-old move above Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar in a log that is currently headed by Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag with Sri Lanka`s Mahela Jayawardena close behind in second.

Australia`s captain and vice-captain have dropped a place each in the rankings, with Ricky Ponting now sitting 16th and Michael Clarke in fifth place.

Further down the table, Pakistan`s new captain Salman Butt has climbed nine places to claim 32nd position, while Umar Akmal has dropped four places to 36th in the rankings.

South Africa`s Jacques Kallis still tops the all-rounders` rankings, followed by Daniel Vettori of New Zealand and Bangladesh`s Shakib Al Hasan.

With the Test between Sri Lanka and India underway in Galle the rankings will undoubtedly change at the end of the match especially with the likes of Sehwag and Jayawardena in action.

The soon to retire Muttiah Muarlidaran will be aiming to reach the landmark of 800 Test wickets in his final match, an outcome which could well see him climb from his current fifth place in the bowlers` ranking and go out on a high note.



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