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Proteas, Kiwis look to make up ground in the LG ICC Test table

Written by: Staff

Dubai, Apr 13 (UNI) South Africa and New Zealand have the chance to make up ground on the top four sides in the LG ICC Test Championship table when they start their three-match series at Centurion on Saturday.

The two sides are lying side-by-side in mid-table with just three rating points between them but fifth-placed New Zealand are eight points behind Pakistan, the side immediately above them.

The Kiwis can close that gap with a series victory over the Proteas and if they win all three matches they will reduce it to just two points.

For the Proteas, on the other hand, a series win will see them leapfrog New Zealand and move into fifth place and if they win all three Tests, they will have 102 rating points, seven behind Pakistan.

Both line-ups have just one player each in the top 20 of the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen with the home side's Jacques Kallis in second place behind the leader, Australia's Ricky Ponting, while New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming is in 20th spot.

Behind Fleming are the South African duo of Herschelle Gibbs (21st) and captain Graeme Smith (24th), who missed the final Test of the recent series against Australia because of a hand injury.

The two sides are much better represented among the list of leading Test bowlers with South Africa's Makhaya Ntini now in second place behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralidaran thanks to his recent 10-wicket haul against Australia in Johannesburg and Shane Warne's modest return in the first Test against Bangladesh.

Below Ntini are his fellow seam bowlers Andre Nel (11th) and Shaun Pollock (12th) while two New Zealand bowlers feature in the top 20 -- Shane Bond (9th) and Daniel Vettori (19th).

Vettori is fifth among Test all-rounders, a table headed by Kallis, England's Andrew Flintoff -- who is also the leading ODI all-rounder -- and Pollock.

LG ICC Test rankings: 1. Australia (131); 2. England (113); 3. India (111); 4. Pakistan (109); 5. New Zealand (101); 6. South Africa (98); 7. Sri Lanka (95); 8. West Indies (72); 9. Zimbabwe (27); 10. Bangladesh 4.


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