Dubai, Aug 31: South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn today (August 31) stormed back to the number-one position in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers after producing a match-winning performance in the Centurion Test that helped his side complete a 204-run victory over New Zealand on Tuesday (August 30).
Steyn, who grabbed five for 33 in the second innings in what was his 26th five-wicket haul, finished with match figures of eight for 99 to regain the top slot.
After reclaiming the No.1 ranking in February 2014 against Australia at Centurion, the 33-year-old had enjoyed the top spot until a shoulder injury in the Durban Test against England in December 2015 limited his bowling.
India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took advantage of Steyn's absence and backed up by some strong individual performances, finished the year as the top-ranked bowler.
Steyn has leapfrogged Ashwin and top-ranked England pace bowler James Anderson to take the top slot, which he first occupied jointly with retired Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralidaran in April 2008.
Steyn has now been number-one for a record 263 Tests with Muralidaran coming second in the list at 214 weeks. In terms of days, Steyn has spent 2,320 days at the top, the most by any bowler since World War II.
Steyn's new ball partners - Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada - have also made significant gains in the latest bowlers' rankings, which were released on Wednesday morning.
Philander, who took four wickets in the Centurion Test, has moved from 13th to 11th position, while Rabada has gained three places to rise to 27th position after grabbing five wickets in the match.
The good news for New Zealand is its fast bowler Neil Wagner has moved up one slot to ninth position following his six wickets in the match, including a first innings haul of five for 86.
Top 10 Test bowlers (As on August 31, 2016)
(Read as Rank, Player, Team, Points)
1 (+2) Dale Steyn (South Africa) 878
2 (-1) James Anderson (England) 870
3 (-1) R Ashwin (India) 859
4 ( - ) Stuart Broad (England) 836
5 ( - ) Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka) 831
6 ( - ) Yasir Shah (Pakistan) 806
7 ( - ) Mitchell Starc (Australia) 792
8 ( - ) Ravindra Jadeja (India) 773
9 (+1) Neil Wagner (New Zealand) 760
10 (-1) Trent Boult (NZ) 733