|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
January 18, 2010
Graeme Smith, the South African captain, and Morne Morkel, one half of his hostile new-ball pair, have climbed to career-best rankings after South Africa's resounding victory in the fourth Test at the Wanderers. Smith crunched a vital 105 in that Test, and Morkel finished with match figures of 7 for 98 as England fell to an innings defeat and South Africa drew level in the Test series.
Smith moved up two places to second in the Test batting rankings, but Morkel's ascent was far more dramatic. He started the series ranked 31st and has jumped 24 places to seventh after picking up 19 wickets at 21.47 in four Tests. Dale Steyn, Morkel's opening partner with whom he shared the man-of-the-match award in the final Test, took 15 wickets at 23.80 despite missing the first Test at Centurion and playing in Durban while not yet fully fit.
Steyn's good showing in the series means that he consolidates his position at the top of the bowling rankings, extending his lead to 72 points ahead of Mitchell Johnson in second place. AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Mark Boucher also moved up the rankings, to 13th, 23rd, and 36th places, respectively, while Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince both dropped two spaces, to eighth and 29th positions.
It's a different story for England, however, as Paul Collingwood is the only batsman to move up the rankings after notching up 344 runs at 57.33 despite not scoring a hundred in the four Tests. Stuart Broad's 13 wickets mean that he climbed up into the top 10, but James Anderson, who lacked penetration after struggling with a chronic injury to his right knee, slipped seven places to 14th.
Far more worrying for England is the news that they are now without a batsman in the top 20 after both Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen put in disappointing performances at the Wanderers. Strauss, who started the series ranked 14th, slipped seven places to 21st, while Pietersen's series aggregate of 177 runs at 25.28 means that he now finds himself 27th in the rankings.
As well as the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy, South Africa also retained their second position in the ICC Test rankings after winning the fourth Test. In a tightly-spaced top three, South Africa are four points behind India and two ahead of Australia, while England are ranked fifth with 107 points.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
A gutting loss to England, after leading the series 1-0, has thrown up some glaring inadequacies in the Indian team but there is little being said or done in terms of improvement
His rapid improvement with the ball has been integral to England coming from behind to lead the series - but that is just one area where Moeen Ali continues to impress
On the eve of Mahela Jayawardene's final Test, his team-mate, best friend and fellow batting superstar Kumar Sangakkara speaks about what made him, and them, tick
After 8-0, MS Dhoni could look forward to building a team from scratch; now, there is nothing left for him to contribute. Free him from the Test captaincy and he could yet give back in other ways
For all MS Dhoni's many trophies and accomplishments, Test cricket continues to resist his magic and indefinitely postpone his motorbike ride into the sunset
His decisions in the England series have seemed to confirm that he does not care too much for the Test game. Maybe he should be concentrating on the World Cup
With too great an emphasis on limited-overs cricket, MS Dhoni's side have a set of skills and a level of concentration that are not commensurate with the necessities of Tests