Dimuth Karunaratne has become Sri Lanka’s highest-ranked Test batsman, while South Africa’s left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj has returned to the top-20 in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings, which were released on Tuesday morning following the conclusion of the Colombo Test.
Karunaratne scored 53 and 85, and also benefitted from Dinesh Chandimal’s absence as well as below-par performances from Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram to move up three places to a career-best seventh position. Karunaratne now leads Chandimal by 21 points, while he is ahead of ninth-ranked Elgar and 10th-ranked Markram by 30 and 51 points, respectively.
Karunaratne’s opening partner Danushka Gunathilaka, who also scored two half-centuries and was involved in opening partnerships of 116 and 91, has made an impressive gain of 36 places and now occupies 73rd position.
The biggest mover in the latest rankings is South Africa’s middle-order batsman Theunis de Bruyn. Although de Bruyn’s 101 failed to save his side from a 199-run defeat, his maiden Test century in his sixth Test has lifted the 25-year-old from 148th to 105th (up by 43 places).
The batting table is headed by Australia’s Steve Smith, although second-ranked Virat Kohli will be eyeing the number-one spot when he leads India in the five-Test series starting at Edgbaston next week. Kohli is presently 26 points behind Smith, but leads his third-ranked opposite number Joe Root by 48 points.
Maharaj has been rewarded with a rise of five places following his match figures of 12 for 283, including nine for 129 in the first innings. Maharaj is now ranked 18th in the world and his tally of points (692) is the most for a South Africa spinner since Paul Harris reached 705 in December 2009.
Maharaj was not the only slow bowler to improve his ranking. Sri Lanka off-spinners Dilruwan Perera and Akila Dananjaya have also made upward movements.
Perera, who had figures of four for 40 and two for 90, has jumped two places to 23rd, while Dananjaya has achieved a career-high ranking of 39th (up by 16 places) following figures of five for 52 and two for 67.
Rangana Herath, who took seven wickets in the match, including six for 98 in the second innings, has consolidated his eighth position by narrowing the gap with seventh-ranked Trent Boult to four points after collecting 26 points.
However, there was bad news for South Africa fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn.
After picking up just one wicket, Rabada has fallen from the number-one ranking, which means England’s most successful bowler, James Anderson, will start his country’s 1000th Test as the top-ranked bowler. Rabada had claimed the top-spot from Anderson following the Port Elizabeth Test against Australia earlier this year.
Rabada had entered the Colombo Test leading Anderson by seven points and now trails the Lancastrian by 10 points.
Likewise, Steyn remained wicketless in the Colombo Test. As a result, he has conceded 36 points and dropped five places in the latest rankings. Steyn is now ranked 24th on 635 points, which is his lowest points total since 544 in October 2007.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka and South Africa have moved in opposite directions on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings following the home side’s 2-0 series win.
Second-ranked South Africa have joined Australia on 106 points after conceding six points, while sixth-ranked Sri Lanka have joined England on 97 points after collecting six points. However, South Africa is ranked above Australia and Sri Lanka is ranked below England, when the points are calculated beyond the decimal point.
South Africa’s dip means India will retain their No.1 ranking irrespective of how their five-Test series against England pans out, but England can rise to as high as second if they make a clean sweep of the series. The series starts at Edgbaston on 1 August.
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