Harbhajan enjoys highest ranking in five years

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Dubai, Nov 11 (UNI) India's Harbhajan Singh has gained two places in the latest ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers and is now in seventh position, the highest ranking the off-spinner has enjoyed since 2003.

In the batting rankings Sachin Tendulkar continued his current patch of good form registering his 40th Test century against Australia in Nagpur.

The Little Master gained three places in the process and now sits in 16th position just behind Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke, who drops one place to 15th, and England's Alastair Cook.

Virender Sehwag has moved up two places to 11th spot after scoring 66 and 92 in the match and is now behind Jacques Kallis of South Africa (in 10th place) and Matthew Hayden of Australia (in ninth place).

The 28-year-old Harbhajan took seven wickets in the fourth Test against Australia at Nagpur and, as a result, has moved past Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka and Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar but is still well behind the next highest placed Ryan Sidebottom of England and also Australia's Brett Lee.

In the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Harbhajan scalped 15 wickets at 28.86. Harbhajan's batting has also continued to impress in this series and his 18 not out and 52 at Nagpur helped him gain six places to 87th in the Rankings for Test batsmen and two places to 11th in the all-rounders' list.

However, Zaheer Khan lost three places following the Nagpur Test and now sits in 18th position. The left-arm pacer took just one wicket for 125 runs in the fourth Test as his new-ball partner Ishant Sharma continued to shine at the other end.

Sharma is up six places to 30th position after taking another four wickets in the match and being named as the player of the series. It is the first time the 20-year-old has broken into the top 30 during his short career to date.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra continued his rise in the bowling rankings, gaining six places to 43rd position, a remarkable showing considering he has played just three Tests.

Australian spinner Jason Krejza has shot straight into the bowling rankings in 49th position after taking 12 wickets on debut at Nagpur.

Only two bowlers - Bob Massie (16-137) for Australia against England at Lord's in 1972 and Narendra Hirwani (16-136) for India in 1988 against the West Indies in Chennai have taken more wickets on debut than the 25-year-old New South Welshman.

The bowling rankings continue to be headed by Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, followed by South Africa's Dale Steyn in second place and Clark.

The West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul is still top of the batting list followed very closely by Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka in second place.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has slipped two places to seventh in the rankings and out of the top five for the first time since 2004.

The Tasmanian scored a century in the first innings of the first Test of the four-match series but since then has averaged only 23.83.


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