Sangakkara topples Ponting off top spot in ICC Player Rankings

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Dubai, Dec 6 (UNI) In-form Kumar Sangakkara toppled Australian skipper Ricky Ponting to become the first Sri Lanka player to top the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen following yet another stellar performance.

The 30-year-old scored 92 and 152 in the first Test against England at Kandy this week to make sure Sri Lanka went ahead in the series and in the process, he has displaced Ponting from the top.

Sangakkara has overtaken South Africa's Jacques Kallis as well as Ponting to stamp his foot on the elite position, but they are very much in a group of their own at the top of the ladder. With plenty of Test cricket scheduled for all three in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see who comes out to the final winner.

Sri Lanka now boasts a player at the top of both the batsman and bowler categories in the ICC Player Rankings as world record-breaking spinner Muttiah Muralidaran tops the bowling list.

The man from Matale is the only batsman from the Asian sub-continent in the all-time top 10 list, although Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan and India's Sunil Gavaskar find themselves in the top 20.

Sangakkara has also now gone into joint-sixth position in the all-time rankings, indicating just what spectacular form he has been in of late. On Tuesday he became the first batsman in the history of the game to register scores of 150 or more in four successive Tests.

In the all-time list, Sangakkara has moved level with West Indian legends Clyde Walcott, Viv Richards and Garfield Sobers with just seven rating points separating him from Len Hutton, who occupies the second place.

However, he still has a way to go to catch the man with the best all-time rating, Sir Don Bradman.

Elsewhere in the rankings, England's Ian Bell has gained six places and has broken into the top 15 for the first time in his career after knocks of 83 and 74 in Kandy.

Team-mate Matthew Hoggard has moved up five places in the Test bowlers' rankings and now stands fifth, behind Aussie Stuart Clark, Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini of South Africa and Muralitharan.

The all-time top 10 list in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen is as follows: Donald Bradman (Aus) 961 v India, December 6, 1948 Len Hutton (Eng) 945 v West Indies, March 30, 1954 Ricky Pontin (Aus) 942 v England, December 1, 2006 Jack Hobbs (Eng) 942 v Australia, August 19, 1912 Peter May (Eng) 941 v Australia, August 23, 1956 Kumar Sangakkara(SL) 938 v England, December 1, 2007 Clyde Walcott (WI) 938 v Australia, June 11, 1955 Viv Richards (WI) 938 v England, March 27, 1981 Garfield Sobers (WI) 938 v India, January 13, 1967 Jacques Kallis (SA) 935 v New Zealand, November 18, 2007 Matthew Hayden (Aus) 935 v England, November 7, 2002.

UNI

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