PriceWaterhouse Coopers ratings October 30, 2003

Murali: 'Lara's still No. 1'

Nathan Ross

Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka's offspinner and leading wicket-taker, revealed that he regarded Brain Lara as the world's best batsman at the moment, despite Matthew Hayden topping this week's PriceWaterhouse Coopers ratings.

Muralitharan, who has 459 Test wickets, said Lara was the "most dangerous left-hand batsman I have ever bowled to in my career", even though Hayden has been piling on the runs for the last couple of years. Murali added: "Hayden is a very good batsman, no doubt about that, for anyone who scores 380 has to be brilliant, but Lara is more classy any day."

However Steve Waugh, the Australian captain, disagreed and compared Hayden's form to that of Sir Donald Bradman after his record-breaking innings of 380 against Zimbabwe at Perth.

Muralitharan is currently ranked second to Shaun Pollock on the weekly Test-bowling ratings. Pollock is no stranger to the top spot, with this recent promotion to No. 1 being largely due to his consistent performances in Pakistan which included a six-wicket haul in the second Test at Faisalabad.

Hayden, Lara and Ricky Ponting made up the top three batsmen while Michael Vaughan climbed back into the top ten after his unbeaten 81 which helped England defeat Bangladesh in the first Test at Dhaka last week.

Top 10 batsmen
Rank Batsman Points
1 Matthew Hayden (Aus) 895
2 Brian Lara (WI) 887
3 Ricky Ponting (Aus) 847
4 Rahul Dravid (Ind) 809
5 Adam Gilchrist (Aus) 806
6 Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak) 792
7 Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) 779
8 Marcus Trescothick (Eng) 774
9 Mark Richardson (NZ) 765
10 Michael Vaughan (Eng) 759

Top 10 bowlers
Rank Bowler Points
1 Shaun Pollock (SA) 870
2 Muttiah Muralitharan (SL) 861
3 Glenn McGrath (Aus) 831
4 Shoaib Akhtar (Pak) 791
5 Jason Gillespie (Aus) 758
6 Harbhajan Singh (Ind) 721
7 Daryl Tuffey (NZ) 692
8 Anil Kumble (Ind) 679
9 Jacques Kallis (SA) 673
10 Stuart MacGill (Aus) 667