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Tuesday, Feb 18th

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Amla closes in on No.1 Test ranking

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South Africa batsman Hashim Amla has moved within striking distance of claiming the number-one ranking on the Reliance ICC Test Player Rankings for batsmen for the first time in his career.

Amla has moved up a place to second in the latest rankings that were released on Tuesday, a day after South Africa’s innings and 193 runs win over New Zealand at Port Elizabeth in the second and final Test. This victory gave South Africa a 2-0 series win over New Zealand.

Amla stroked 110 in the Port Elizabeth Test and earned eight rating points which, in turn, has helped him achieve a career-best 886 ratings points.

Amla is now just one rating point behind Australia captain Michael Clarke and will have a shot at the coveted position when he takes on Pakistan in the first Test of the three-match series in Johannesburg on 1 February. In contrast, Clarke only returns to the Test arena on 22 February when Australia faces India in the first Test of the four-match series in Chennai.

The two other centurions of the Port Elizabeth Test, Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar, have also moved up in the latest batting rankings. Du Plessis is now 38th (up by five) and Dean Elgar is now at 96th (up by 49).

New Zealand’s Dean Brownlie in 43rd (up by three) and BJ Watling in 56th (up by 22) are the others batsmen to make notable upward movements.

The bowlers’ table is still headed by Dale Steyn, who has further consolidated his lead at the top after spells of five for 17 and three for 48 that also fetched him the Player of the Match award in the second Test.

Steyn has opened up 45 ratings points gap with team-mate and second-ranked Vernon Philander, who lost one per cent of his ratings point for missing the second Test due to injury.

Steyn is now just five ratings points away from returning to the magical 900-point mark, and eight ratings points away from achieving a career-best rating. In ranking terms, the 900-point mark is the benchmark for the top bowlers.

The other bowlers to make upward movements include New Zealand’s fast bowler Doug Bracewell in 37th (up by one) and South Africa duo of Robin Peterson in 50th (up by 15) and Rory Kleinveldt in 74th (up by 17).