Dubai, Jan.7 (ANI): South Africa paceman Vernon Philander has edged closer to number-one ranked Dale Steyn in the Reliance ICC player rankings for test bowlers after his match-winning spell against New Zealand in the Cape Town Test.
The latest rankings were released on Monday following the conclusion of the Sydney Test in which Australia defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets to sweep the three-Test series. The second and final Test between South Africa and New Zealand will start on Friday 11 January in Port Elizabeth.
Philander ended the Cape Town Test with figures of five for seven 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. Philander had come within 19 points of moving ahead of his team-mate but he slipped down the ladder after missing the second Test against Australia in Adelaide last month.
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).
Australia's Jackson Bird, who won the player of the match in the Sydney Test, has been rewarded with a jump of 40 places to 47th for his figures of four for 41 and three for 76.
Meanwhile, South Africa opener Alviro Petersen has broken into the top 20 of the Reliance ICC Player 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 Reliance ICC Rankings for Test batsmen 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.
There is no change in the top five of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders. The table is still headed by South Africa's Jacques Kallis, followed by Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh in second place and Australia's Shane Watson in third.
Meanwhile, Australia batsman Mike Hussey has ended his Test career in 11th place in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen.
Hussey last achieved the number-one ranking on the batting table on 3 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.
Michael Clarke became the seventh from Australia to break the barrier during the series against Sri Lanka.
Later in 2008, Hussey achieved his career-best rating of 921 following the first Test against West Indies at Kingston. This put him in a joint 17th position along with Harvey in the Reliance ICC Best-Ever Test Championship Ratings.
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 Reliance ICC 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.
The Test Championship table as well as the Reliance ICC Player Rankings will now be updated at the end of South Africa-New Zealand series.
The Test Championship table is updated after every series, unlike the ODI or T20I Championship tables, which are updated after every match.
The side that is the number-one ranked team at the 1 April 2013 cut-off date will be in line for the increased prize money on offer for the top-ranked side.
A total of USD 3.8 million in prize money will be shared among the top four sides on 1 April 2013, 2014 and 2015, after the ICC Board approved a proposal in 2012 to substantially increase incentives in the form of prize money to promote Test cricket in the period leading up to the ICC Test Championship event in 2017.
Previously, the team that topped the table in the Reliance ICC Test rankings received a cheque for USD 175,000, but, from 2013, it will receive a minimum of USD 450,000, rising to USD 500,000 in 2015. From 2016 there will be further increases in Test prize money.
Rank Team Rating
1. South Africa 123
2. England 118
3. Australia 117 (+3)
4. Pakistan 109
5. India 105
6. Sri Lanka 92 (-4)
7. West Indies 91
8. New Zealand 79
9. Bangladesh 0 (ANI)