Cape Town – Former captain Graeme Smith on Wednesday lauded the Proteas for regaining their ICC No 1 Test ranking ... suggesting it shouldn’t have been taken away for a few months anyway.
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Smith, who stepped down after more than a decade at the helm in the home series against Australia, where South Africa were pipped 2-1 in March, said on Twitter (@GraemeSmith49): “Great to see we back at number 1. Still couldn’t quite understand how it managed to get manipulated away. #proteafire”
He was responding to the Proteas’ 1-0 away series triumph over Sri Lanka, the first in charge for new skipper Hashim Amla.
It meant SA returned to the top of the pile after the Aussies were a little curiously installed there following their success against the Proteas.
Their renewed hold is fairly tenuous, however, as they have a rating of 124, only one point ahead of the Baggy Greens’ 123, and Michael Clarke’s side have an opportunity to grab back the mantle if they beat third-placed Pakistan (a distant 103 rating) in the United Arab Emirates in October/November.
The Proteas lost their grip on the No 1 position – after the rare home loss -- despite having beaten Australia in each of their last two series Down Under, and boasting a particularly glowing away record.
Beating Sri Lanka on their turf for the first time since 1993 meant that South Africa stretched their unbeaten record abroad to 13 series, going back to ‘Lanka 2006 when they were beaten 2-0.
When the Aussies assumed No 1 berth, it somehow seemed too mercurial a rise, even if their SA triumph would have rightfully earned strong value under the rankings formula.
The Australians’ last two away series, after all, had been a 3-0 Ashes loss in England and 4-0 thumping in India.
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