Vernon Philander achieves career-best second position in ICC Test rankings

Dubai: South African fast bowler Vernon Philander has achieved a career-best second position on the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers after inspiring his side to a 51 run victory over England in the third Test at Lord’s, which gave the Proteas a 2-0 series win, and, with it, the number-one position on the Reliance ICC Test Championship table.

The 27-year-old, who has been shortlisted for People’s Choice Award 2012, returned figures of two for 48 and five for 30.

This performance has helped him leapfrog Pakistan’s off-spinner Saeed Ajmal into second spot and has put him just 29 ratings points behind team-mate Dale Steyn.

Philander backed up his marvelous bowling performance with scores of 61 and 35 in South Africa’s totals of 309 and 351, respectively.

Apart from walking away with the man of the match award, the show with the bat has given him a boost of 40 places in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen and has put him in 92nd position, while the combined performance with the bat and the ball has given him a career-high seventh position (up by 14 places) in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders.

England’s Steven Finn is the other bowler to be rewarded with a jump.

The 23-year-old fast bowler recorded figures of eight for 149 which have helped him break into the top 20 for the first time in his career.

Finn is now in 16th position (up by 10 places) and is the fourth England bowler after James Anderson (fifth), Stuart Broad (eighth), Graeme Swann (13th) and Tim Bresnan (20th) to find a place inside the top 20 bowlers.

In the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, South Africa’s Hashim Amla, who was adjudged player of the series for his aggregate of 482 runs (average 120.5), has reclaimed his number-two position, which he last held in February 2010.

Amla now trails number-one ranked Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka by 23 ratings points.

J P Duminy of South Africa and England’s Jonny Bairstow are the other batsmen to head in the right direction.

Duminy, who scored 61 and 26 not out, has moved up seven places to 53rd position while Bairstow’s masterly knocks of 95 and 54 have helped him vault 101 places to 69th spot.

Batsmen losing ground after the Lord’s Test include Jacques Kallis in fourth (down by two places), Graeme Smith in seventh (down by one place), Alastair Cook in 12th (down by four places), Jonathan Trott in 16th (down by two places), Ian Bell in 18th (down by one place) and Andrew Strauss in 30th (down by one place).

There is also a change in the guard in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders where Kallis’ drop means Shakib al Hasan of Bangladesh is back in number-one position.

Meanwhile, India hosts New Zealand in a two-Test series in Hyderabad from Thursday and there will be some movement on the Reliance ICC Test Championship table, irrespective of how the series pans out.

India currently sits in fifth position, five ratings points behind fourth-ranked Pakistan. A 2-0 victory will earn Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side two ratings points, which will put India on 106 ratings points, while pushing New Zealand to 76 ratings points (down from 80).

However, if the series result is reversed, then India will slip behind Sri Lanka into sixth position and New Zealand will reduce the 10-point difference with the seventh-ranked West Indies to just one rating point. In case of a one-all series result, India will concede three ratings points while New Zealand will gain three ratings points.


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