Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke

Australia captain Michael Clarke returned to the top of ICC Test batting rankings with two half centuries against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Clarke needed a strong performance at Blundstone Arena to have any chance of overhauling West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whom he trailed by a solitary point.

And he delivered, producing scores of 74 and 57 as Australia claimed a 137-run win. The 31-year-old is now nine points ahead of Chanderpaul and 13 in front of South African Hashim Amla.

England captain Alastair Cook, meanwhile, remains in fourth spot, 52 points adrift of Clarke, after managing just 14 runs across two innings in the fourth Test draw against India.

Clarke's team-mate Michael Hussey climbed four positions to ninth on the back of a 131-run knock in Hobart, while Englishman Jonathan Trott scored 143 runs against India, a performance that saw him rise three places to 15th.

Other batsmen to climb were England's Ian Bell, who moved three spots to 18th, Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan to 24th (up by four), Australian David Warner to 31st (up by six) and India's Virat Kohli to 37th (up by four), while Australian Phillip Hughes improved to 51st (up by six).

Englishman Kevin Pietersen, who slipped to 11th (down by two), led a host of players that fell behind the leaders, which included Sri Lankan duo Thilan Samaraweera in 17th (down by two) and Mahela Jayawardene in 21st (down by four), Indians Sachin Tendulkar in 22nd (down by three) and Virender Sehwag in 25th (down by two), and Australian Shane Watson in 39th (down by three).

South African speedster Dale Steyn remains top of the Test bowling table ahead of compatriot Vernon Philander but Australia's Peter Siddle made significant inroads against Sri Lanka.

The paceman is now ranked fifth in the world, an improvement of five places, Pakistani Saeed Ajmal moved to third as Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath dropped to fourth, while English fast bowler James Anderson rose one place to leapfrog team-mate Graeme Swann into sixth.

Morne Morkel of South Africa, who slipped to eighth (down by one), India's Pragyan Ojha ninth (down by four) and Australian Ben Hilfenhaus 10th (down by one) all experienced slides in the top 10.

Meanwhile, there were no changes in the all-rounders' rankings with South African Jacques Kallis continuing to top the charts ahead of Bangladeshi Shakib Al Hasan and Watson.

However, Indian Ravichandran Ashwin in sixth (up by one) and Siddle 10th (up by one) increased their standings.


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