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March 17, 2010
Graeme Swann's 10-wicket match haul in the first Test at Chittagong has catapulted him to second place in the ICC's Test bowling rankings - the highest position for an English bowler since Steve Harmison reached No. 1 in August 2004.
Swann sent down 78.3 overs in the match, conceding 217 runs and striking five times in each innings. When Junaid Siddique and Mushfiqur Rahim's four-and-a-half hour rearguard effort began to look threatening, he broke their 167-run stand, eventually dismissing both batsmen, and fittingly closing off the Test match with his dismissal of Naeem Islam.
Swann's stellar rise is made even more remarkable by considering the fact that he was in 23rd position only eight months ago. During this period, he has played 10 Tests and taken 45 wickets, including 14 against Australia and 21 against South Africa, and his consistent performances against such high-ranking opposition have contributed considerably to his ascent.
"He's got six five-fors in the last year alone, and he's been fantastic," said Swann's England team-mate, Stuart Broad. "He waited a long time for his chance - eight years in the wilderness, as he puts it - but since he's come back in, he's looked dangerous, particularly in his first overs, and it's been brilliant for the lads to have him in the bowling unit.
"The whole side is delighted for him to be No. 2 in the world, and we all hope he gets to No. 1. It's been good for the England side with him taking regular wickets - and the seamers can take a lot of credit for the pressure they build up at the other end - and it's helped him to climb the ladder fantastically."
Swann ended 2009 - a year in which he took 54 wickets in 12 Tests - in third position, vaulting up from 11th after his man-of-the-match performance at against South Africa at Kingsmead, where he completed match-figures of 9 for 164. He had slipped to fifth before the start of the Bangladesh series, but rose once again after his tireless effort in the first Test.
In a testament to his value to England, Swann has also moved up to third in the rankings for Test allrounders, edging ahead of Bangladesh captain Shakib al Hasan.
For his part, Hasan has climbed to 15th in the bowling rankings, moving up three places, after recording match figures of 5 for 195 in the first Test. Mushfiqur, who scored 79 and 95 in the match, has jumped 12 places to 34th, with Tamim Iqbal rising three places to 37th and Junaid - who hit his maiden Test century in Bangladesh's second innings - vaulting 12 places to 60th.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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