Article

Four-way battle for ICC top ranking

9 December 2012 12:50

Australia captain Michael Clarke can move to the top of the ICC Test batting rankings with a strong performance against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

The first match of the three-Test series begins on Friday and Clarke - who has a record four double-centuries to his name this year - is just one ranking point behind top-ranked West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Scores of 259 not out and 230 against a formidable South African bowling attack last month have raised Clarke's stocks even further and claiming the top ranking would be a fitting way to end an outstanding 2012 for the 31-year-old.

Just five ranking points separate the top-four batsmen, with Chanderpaul (879) and Clarke (878) closely followed by South African Hashim Amla (875) and England captain Alastair Cook (874).

Amla posted scores of 104 and 196 in the recent three-Test series against Australia while Cook's outstanding form has seen him hit centuries in five successive matches.

Michael Hussey is the only other Australian batsman inside the top 20 batting rankings, with the veteran in 13th position with 728 points.

South African Dale Steyn is still comfortably ranked the world's best bowler with 880 points, while compatriot Vernon Philander and Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath are tied for second on 838 points.

Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal (832) and India's Pragyan Ojha (773) round out the top five, with Tasmanian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus the best-placed Aussie in ninth.

Peter Siddle is listed in 10th position while left-armer Mitchell Johnson - who made an impressive comeback to Test cricket against South Africa - occupies 20th spot.

South African Jacques Kallis is the top-ranked all-rounder, with Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan and Australian Shane Watson in second and third respectively.

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