Amla and Clarke battle for number 1 Test batting spot


South Africa batsman Hashim Amla and Australia captain Michael Clarke have continued their dogfight for the number-one batting position on the Reliance ICC Test Player Rankings for batsmen. Both the batsmen excelled in the Centurion and Chennai Tests, which meant both they gained ratings points and as such retained their pre-Test rankings.

Amla has earned eight ratings points following his knock of 92 against Pakistan and became only the 27th batsman in the history of the game to break the 900-rating points barrier, a benchmark for the top batsmen.

Amla, who has been twice shortlisted for the ICC Cricketer of the Year Award, is the fourth South African to achieve this rare feat after Jacques Kallis, Graeme Pollock and Dudley Nourse. The 29-year-old from Durban, who celebrates his 30th birthday next month, is now at a career-best 903 ratings points and in 25th position on the all-time batting ratings list.

Clarke, who was the 26th batsman to break the 900-point mark after the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka, got scores of 131 and 30 in the Chennai Test against India. For this effort, he received five ratings points, which, in turns means the gap between the top two batsmen in the world opened from six to 11 ratings points.

However, Amla has no more Tests before October while Clarke has three more Tests against India to reclaim the number-one batting rank he surrendered to the South African on 4 February after the Cape Town Test.

The latest rankings were released on Tuesday after India’s eight-wicket win over Australia in Chennai and South Africa’s innings and 18 runs win over Pakistan at Centurion.

There has been some reshuffle in the batting table following the Centurion and Chennai Tests.

South Africa’s AB de Villiers has moved up a place to third, India’s Sachin Tendulkar has jumped three places to 17th spot, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has charged up 15 places to 21st, Virat Kohli of India has gained 10 places and is now on a career-best 25th position.

In the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, India’s Ravichandran Ashwin has been rewarded for his match haul of 12 for 198 with a leap of nine places which has put him in a career-best 11th spot.

There has been no other change in the top 10 of the bowlers’ table, which is still headed by South Africa’s Dale Steyn with his teammate Vernon Philander in second place. Philander has gained six ratings points to finish at 890 and trails Steyn by 15 ratings points.

Other bowlers outside the top 20 to make upward movements include James Pattinson in 21st (up by 13), Ravindra Jadeja in 63rd (up by 22), Rory Kleinveldt in 70th (up by six) and Rahat Ali in 81st (up by 39).