Clarke scales new heights in ICC Test Rankings

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Indian opener Gautam Gambhir clung to 10th spot even as Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke broke into the top five for the first time in his career.

Updated: January 08, 2009 09:24 IST
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Indian opener Gautam Gambhir clung to 10th spot even as Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke rose further in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, breaking into the top five for the first time in his career.

Besides Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, who gained one position to be 12th, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman - steady at 16th and 18th places respectively - were the only Indian batsmen in the list of top-20.

The 27-year-old Clarke has jumped four places to find himself in the fifth spot after managing scores of 138 and 41 against South Africa in Sydney to help seal victory over the Proteas in the final Test of the three-match series.

Also on the rise are South Africa's Hashim Amla and Simon Katich of Australia who have joined the top 20 for the first time in their careers.

Amla has climbed four places to the 19th position after registering two half-centuries in the match while Katich shares the 20th spot with West Indies captain Chris Gayle after scores of 47 and 61.

Meanwhile, rival captains, Graeme Smith of South Africa and Australia's Ricky Ponting, have failed to retain their places.

Smith has dropped two places in the rankings to ninth, despite bravely coming out to bat at number 11 for his side in the second innings of the Sydney Test with a broken finger and an injured elbow while Ponting has slipped one place to seventh after scores of 0 and 53.

Higher up the table Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara has dropped from second to the third position after managing a total of 59 runs against Bangladesh in his side's victory in Chittagong.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena has dropped two places from fourth to sixth after a couple of disappointing innings with the bat.

The table is still headed by the West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Among bowlers, Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralidaran still tops the chart followed by South Africa's Dale Steyn.

South Africa's Makhaya Ntini has dropped two places to the fifth spot after ending up with disappointing match figures of 1-168 in Sydney. Australia's Mitchell Johnson jumps over Ntini to take the fourth place after collecting figures of 4-118.

However, Australian pace spearhead Brett Lee has dropped to 10th position, his lowest ranking since January 2007, after being forced to withdraw from the final Test with an ankle injury.

Sri Lanka's Chaminda Vaas has gained three places to go seventh in the table after recording figures of 3-37 against Bangladesh in the final Test match in Chittagong.

Vaas's rise means the three players ahead of him - Harbhajan Singh of India, Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar and Lee - have slipped one place each.

South Africa's Jacques Kallis still leads the ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders followed by New Zealand's Daniel Vettori in second position.

Vaas's good performance with both bat and ball has pushed him above Dwayne Bravo of the West Indies into fourth position although the two had been deadlocked on the same number of ratings points.

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