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Updated: November 29, 2009 15:37 IST

Gambhir regains top Test spot

PTI
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Gautam Gambhir
The Hindu Gautam Gambhir

Indian opener Gautam Gambhir regained the number one spot but veterans Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman lost ground in the latest ICC Test rankings.

Gambhir returned to the number one spot after his eighth career century helped India record an innings and 144 runs victory over Sri Lanka in the second Test in Kanpur.

Gambhir, the ICC Test Player of Year, scored 167 and featured in a 233-run first wicket stand with Virender Sehwag who has also climbed four places to return to the top-20 in 19th place.

The left-handed Gambhir had first surged to the top of the batting table in July but lost his position a month later to Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara. He had entered the Test series in second place and had dropped to third after the first Test in Ahmedabad.

Gambhir’s leap has pushed the Sri Lankan duo of Mahela Jayawardena and Sangkkara into second and third positions respectively.

Also moving in the right direction are Rahul Dravid, whose 28th career century has helped him rise three places to 18th and Yuvraj Singh, who is up three places to 44th in the latest list.

The players failing to retain their positions include Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, who have slipped a rung each to 16th and 20th respectively.

In the rankings for Test bowlers, Sri Lanka’s iconic spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has dropped to third position.

The 37-year-old, who now has 788 Test wickets, had slipped from the top of the ladder for the first time in three years in July and now trails number-one ranked Dale Steyn of South Africa by 130 points.

Temperamental pacer S Sreesanth, who was player of the match in Kanpur, has also returned to the rankings in the 30th position after recording match figures of 6-122.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh gained one place in the latest list and now sits in fifth position.

In the team championship table, India is just a victory away from finishing 2009 in number one position. If Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men beat Sri Lanka in the third and final Test in Mumbai starting on December 2, they would leapfrog South Africa and Sri Lanka into top position.

If India wins the Mumbai Test, they will go to 124 ratings points while South Africa will be pushed to second place on 122 and Sri Lanka in fourth spot on 115 ratings points, one rating points behind third-placed Australia.

However, if the Mumbai Test ends in a draw India will join South Africa on 122 ratings points but Dhoni’s side will be placed behind Graeme Smith’s side when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.

In case of Sri Lanka’s victory, both the sides will retain their pre-series rankings and ratings.

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