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ICC Test Championship

Murali edges closer to the all-time top following nine-wicket haul

Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralidaran has reached his best-ever rating in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers following yet another top performance in Colombo against Bangladesh

James Fitzgerald
29-Jun-2007
Sri Lankan spinner enjoying highest rating of his career; gains for Jayawardena, Vandort, Vaas and Dilshan in LG ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen
Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralidaran has reached his best-ever rating in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers following yet another top performance in Colombo against Bangladesh. The spin genius from Kandy took nine wickets in the match, bringing him to 683 Test scalps overall and pushing him up to 916 rating points from 913, his highest since making his debut back in 1992.
As the only bowler currently enjoying in excess of 900 rating points, Muralidaran is way out in front at the top of the current rankings and he can also make his mark on history if he continues to dominate batsmen the way he does.
He sits fourth in the all-time bowling rankings with his sights now set firmly on the three names above him, Imran Khan of Pakistan (922 points), England's George Lohmann (931) and Sydney Barnes (932).
Following the first Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Colombo, there were no changes in the order of the top 20 in the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers with everyone still chasing Muralidaran.
Further down, Lasith Malinga moved up one spot to 29th position and is now at his highest Test rating of his career to date. Sri Lanka team-mate Dilhara Fernando is also close to his best having moved back into the top 30 in the ladder.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's batsmen are also moving up the LG ICC Test Player Rankings and putting pressure on the very best.
Following the first Test, Mahela Jayawardena, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Prasanna Jayawardene, Michael Vandort and Chaminda Vaas all made gains following good personal performances.
Prasanna gained 11 places to 93rd spot, Vandort moved up nine places to 77th position and Vaas rose four spots to 67th after their centuries but the other gains were more modest given the context of the game.
Captain Jayawardena is up one place to 13th position overall while Dilshan also gained one position and now lies 28th. It was not such good news for Kumar Sangakkara who dropped a place to fifth position following a relatively disappointing match with the bat for the 29-year-old.
Sangakkara is overtaken by Australia's Mike Hussey into fourth while the list is still headed by Hussey's skipper Ricky Ponting with Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan second and England's Kevin Pietersen in third spot.
Veteran Bangladesh batsman Habibul Bashar slipped five places to 40th in the rankings while the news was better for his team-mates, Rajin Saleh and Shahriar Nafees, who gained three places and four places and currently occupy 48th and 59th positions, respectively.
Sri Lanka won the match by an innings and 234 runs and lead the series 1-0 with two matches remaining.
There are no changes in the top five of the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounder with Jacques Kallis of South Africa still leading the way from England's Andrew Flintoff and another South African, Shaun Pollock.
Remaining fixtures in the series:
3-7 July - Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, Colombo
11-15 July - Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, Kandy
Get an idea of Muralidaran's place in history by checking out the all-time Test bowling rankings here

James Fitzgerald is ICC Communications Officer