ICC player ratings December 5, 2006

Ponting closes in on history

Cricinfo staff



Ricky Ponting is closing in on an all-time batting rating © Getty Images
On the back of his second match-winning display of the Ashes series, Ricky Ponting has moved up to joint-third in the all-time ICC player rankings for Test batsmen.

Having scored 142 and 49 in the second Test at Ponting moved up from sixth in the list, past England's Peter May and level with Jack Hobbs. Ponting's century at the Adelaide Oval was his 33rd in Tests and his eighth in his last nine matches. He now needs two more before the end of 2006 to equal Mohammed Yousuf's record of nine in a calendar year, set last week. He also needs two to equal Sachin Tendulkar's record of 35 Test centuries in a career.

Lying just three points behind Len Hutton, Ponting can move up to second spot with another impressive performance in the third Test at Perth that begins on December 14. If he does Ponting will only be bettered by Donald Bradman, whose high of 961 points has stood as a record for nearly six decades.

When Bradman reached that figure, he had just finished a series against India in 1947-48, during which he scored 715 runs at an average of 178.75. In normal circumstances, Ponting could expect to be a long way clear of his nearest rival in the ratings for current players. However, with Yousuf in the middle of an incredible run of form it means Ponting is just nine ratings points ahead.

Elsewhere, Kevin Pietersen has moved up one place to fourth overall in the batting list - his highest to date - following his first innings 158 at Adelaide. Michael Hussey has moved to sixth place - also a career best - at the expense of West Indies captain Brian Lara.

One of the biggest movers is Paul Collingwood, whose maiden Test double-century has sent him shooting up 16 to 13th spot. It is the first time he has made it into the top 20.

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