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Cricket | SA Team

Amla takes over the No 1 spot



Batsman Hashim Amla leads a number of South Africa players who continue to make impressive gains in the latest ICC test player rankings released on Monday.

South African players now head the ICC test Player Rankings tables for batting, bowling and allrounders, after the side's 211 run win over Pakistan in the first test at Johannesburg on Monday.

Amla has taken over the No 1 position in the rankings for test batsmen for the first time in his career, after entering the Johannesburg test trailing Australia captain Michael Clarke by just one ratings point.

He has moved to top spot after knocks of 37 and 74 not out, and now sits on 895 ratings points, his career-best rating.

Amla, who was short-listed for the ICC Cricketer of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012, now heads both the test and ODI batting tables.

He is the first man to do so since former Australia captain Ricky Ponting in December 2007.

Reacting to his No 1 test ranking, Amla said: "I am surprised and happy with my position as the No 1 ranked test batsman, however I'm also mindful that rankings change quite regularly.

"It's been a great year for our squad, and to be honest I still don't think that I am the best batsman in our team. What has been most pleasing though for us has been the all-round contribution from everyone in the squad that has been the main reason for our success over the last few years.

"Needless to say, it is always easier to be at the top of your game and successful when you are part of a winning team. Dale [Steyn] and Jacques [Kallis] have been tireless workhorses for the Proteas and continue to consistently put in quality performances for our team. It is no wonder that they are at the top of the bowling and allrounder rankings."

Fast bowler Steyn has broken the 900-rating points barrier for the second time in his career to retain his No 1 position in the ICC player rankings for test bowlers. Kallis still heads the ICC player rankings for test allrounders.

South Africa vice captain AB de Villiers has achieved a career-best fourth position in the batting rankings after knocks of 31 and 103 not out, and Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has broken into the top 10 for the first time in his career in 10th position (up by three).

Others to make upward movements in the batting rankings are Pakistan's Asad Shafiq, who is 28th (up by four), and Faf du Plessis, of South Africa, at 34th (up by four).

Steyn, who was player of the match in the Johannesburg test, broke the 900-rating points barrier for the second time in his career in the bowling rankings, thanks to spells of six for eight and five for 52.

He now has 908 ratings points, the best by a test bowler since Muttiah Muralitharan reached the same rating in July 2008 against India.

Steyn last broke the 900-ratings points barrier in November 2011 after the Cape Town test against Australia. He now sits alongside ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Alan Davidson of Australia in 13th position on the ICC best-ever test championship rating.

Other bowlers to make upward movements are Kallis, in 29th place (up by four), and Mohammad Hafeez, in 48th (up by eight).

Kallis continues to head the allrounders' list, but Hafeez has broken into the top 10 after jumping three places to 10th.

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