Standard Bank Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has wrested back the top spot among bowlers in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings.
The 22-year-old has also crossed the coveted 900-point mark in ratings after his player of the match effort of 11-150 helped South Africa defeat Australia by six wickets in Port Elizabeth to level their four-match series at 1-1.
Rabada, a star of South Africa’s triumph in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014, has vaulted over James Anderson to the top position and is now 15 points ahead of the England pace bowler at 902 points.
Rabada is the 23rd bowler to cross 900 points and only the fourth South Africa player to do so after Vernon Philander (highest of 912 points in 2013), Shaun Pollock (909 in 1999) and Dale Steyn (909 in 2014).
However, he will now miss the rest of the series against Australia after being suspended for the next two Test matches after being found guilty of a Level 2 ICC Code of Conduct offence of ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player’.
He has received a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee and three demerit points after a disciplinary hearing following his denial of the charge.
Meanwhile, star SA batsman AB de Villiers is another major gainer in the latest rankings update, his scores of 126 not out and 28 helping him move up five slots to reach seventh position in the batsmen’s list led by Australia captain Steve Smith. Hashim Amla has moved up one place to ninth position while Lungi Ngidi has gained 12 slots in the list of bowlers to reach 37th position after grabbing five wickets in the match.
For Australia, Usman Khawaja’s second innings knock of 75 has helped him gain five places to reach 16th position. Wicketkeeper Tim Paine (up 16 places to 66th), opener Cameron Bancroft (up 15 places to a career-best 78th) and fast bowler Pat Cummins (up four places to a career-best 23rd) have all moved up.
Elsewhere, New Zealand and England play a two-Test series that overlaps with the final two Tests of the South Africa-Australia Test series. A series win for England could see them overtake New Zealand to take fourth position in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings as the latter are just one point ahead at 100 points.
On the other hand, New Zealand could overtake Australia to third position if they win their series and Australia go on to lose 3-1 to South Africa.
India have already been presented with the ICC Test Championship Mace and a $1 million prize money after being assured of the top place at the 3 April cut-off date, South Africa are assured of the second prize of $500,000 while the third and fourth sides get $200,000 and $100,000, respectively.