Reward For England And Joe Root In Latest ICC Rankings

England’s Joe Root has continued his impressive march on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen after breaking into the top 10 for the first time in his career.  Root scored an unbeaten 149 at The Oval, his fifth century in 22 Tests, for which he not only won the player of the match award but also got a rise of five places that has put him in ninth position.  Root had entered the series against India in 26th position on 610 ratings points.

In seven innings of five Tests, the 23-year-old, who also played in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2010 in New Zealand, amassed 518 runs with two centuries and three half-centuries.  He consequently finished in ninth position and on 789 ratings points, thus gaining 17 places and 179 ratings points.  Overall, Root has climbed 29 places and has earned 231 ratings points in the seven Tests England has played this summer.

Root is not the only England batsman to make an upward movement.  Captain Alastair Cook, who scored 79, has jumped four places to 21st in the latest rankings, while Gary Ballance has finished in 24th spot after rising five places following his contribution of 64.  The other notable movement in the top 10 batsmen was from Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, who has achieved a career-best third position.

Mathews scored 39 and 43 not out in Colombo, and was rewarded with a rise of two places that has elevated him into third position.  Outside the top 20, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has finished the series in 28th position after his first innings contribution of 82 earned him four places on the table.  Pakistan wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed and Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga also impressed with the bat in Colombo.

Sarfraz has rocketed 29 places to 51st spot after scores of 103 and 55, while Tharanga has vaulted 49 places to 52nd after scoring 92 and 45.  Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara holds the number-one batting position, while AB De Villiers of South Africa is in second spot.  Meanwhile Mahela Jayawardene has signed off on his illustrious Test career in 15th position.

The right-hander represented Sri Lanka in 149 Tests. At 11,814 runs, he sits in seventh place on the all-time list of most run-getters.  In his final Test, the 37-year-old fell both times to Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal after scoring four and 54.  This meant a loss of one place for him on the table.

Jayawardene topped the batting chart in November 2009 following his 275 against India in Ahmedabad.  This was his 149th Test, which also earned him a career-high 883 ratings points and put him in 39th position in the list of ICC Best-Ever Test Championship Rating.  In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath has achieved a career-best ranking.

The left-arm spinner put in a fine performance and recorded figures of nine for 127 and five for 57.  This performance not only gave Sri Lanka a comfortable 105 runs victory but has also helped him move up two places to third.  Other notable movers include Stuart Broad in eighth (up by one place), Junaid Khan 16th (up by one place), Moeen Ali in 32nd (up by one place) and Chris Jordan in 59th position (up by 36 places).

The bowling table is headed by South Africa’s Dale Steyn, who leads Australia’s Ryan Harris.

England and Sri Lanka have improved their positions on the ICC Test Team Championship after winning their series against India and Pakistan, respectively.  England defeated India by 3-1 in the series that finished at The Oval on Sunday, while Sri Lanka beat Pakistan 2-0 in Colombo on Monday.  These results mean England has vaulted two places to third, while Sri Lanka has moved up one place to fourth.

In contrast, India has slipped one place to fifth while Pakistan has dropped two places to sixth.  The 3-1 series win earned England four ratings points but India conceded six ratings points, while Sri Lanka gained six ratings points and Pakistan was docked seven ratings points.  England now leads Sri Lanka by three ratings points, while the latter is ahead of India and Pakistan by five ratings points.

India and Pakistan are on equal ratings points at 96, but MS Dhoni’s side is ranked ahead of Misbah-ul-Haq’s side when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.  Number-one ranked South Africa is sitting on top of the table, but Australia is just one ratings points behind.  Michael Clarke’s side will  have one eye on the number-one spot when it arrives in the UAE in October, but to regain the coveted position, it will have to win both the Tests against Pakistan.

The table in the middle is tight with 11 ratings points separating third-ranked England from seventh-ranked New Zealand.  With a lot of Test cricket to be played over the next five months, further changes to the Championship table is on the cards.