Pallekele - Rangana
Herath and Kusal Mendis have charged up the ICC Test player rankings
after steering Sri Lanka to a 106-run victory over number-one ranked
Australia in the first Test in Pallekele on Saturday.
It was only the second Test victory for Sri Lanka over Australia, the previous one being way back in September 1999.
Herath, who took four for 49 and five for 54, returned to the top 10
in ninth position after rising four places in the bowling chart, while
Mendis, who won the player of the match award for his 176 in the second
innings, vaulted 27 places to 21st position in the batting table.
Herath’s rise meant he opened up a nine-position gap on his nearest
team-mate Dhammika Prasad, who is nursing a shoulder injury. The Sri
Lanka left-arm spinner is also the fourth spinner inside the top 10
after number-one ranked Ravichandaran Ashwin of India, Pakistan’s
fifth-ranked Yasir Shah and sixth-ranked Ravindra Jadeja of India.
For Australia, the good news was the movement of fast bowler Josh
Hazlewood, who moved up one place to seventh, while left-arm spinner
Steve O’Keefe climbed six places to 65th.
Mendis’s rise meant he became the third highest-ranked Sri Lanka
batsman after Angelo Mathews (12th after dropping two places) and Dinesh
Chandimal (20th). Dimuth Karunaratne was 36th (after slipping two
places) and Kaushal Silva was 43rd (after falling seven places).
The batting list was headed by Australia captain Steve Smith,
although his 24-point gap with England’s second-ranked Joe Root was
trimmed to 20 points.
With Root to feature against Pakistan in the third Test at Edgbaston
on 3 August, and Smith to face Sri Lanka in the second Test in Galle on 4
August, it will be interesting to follow how the two batsmen perform as
their performances will have direct impacts on their rankings.
The other good news for Australia was the movement of Adam Voges, who
broke into the top five in fifth position for the first time. Voges
scored 47 and 12, to trail South Africa’s fourth-ranked Hashim Amla by
Australia openers David Warner and Joe Burns, and one-down batsman
Usman Khawaja, all lost ground in the latest rankings, which were
updated following the conclusion of the Bulawayo Test.
Warner shared 10th position with India captain Virat Kohli after
sliding three places, whereas Khawaja and Burns slipped two places each
to claim 29th and 35th positions, respectively.
Bulawayo centurions on the move
Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, BJ Watling (all New Zealand) and Sean
Williams (Zimbabwe) made impressive gains in the rankings following the
Bulawayo Test, which New Zealand won by an innings and 117 runs on
Taylor, who won the player of the match award for his 173 not out,
moved up three places to 12th while Latham and Watling shared 30th
position after rising two and five places, respectively.
Williams was vrewarded for his 119, his maiden Test century, in the
second innings by returning to the rankings in 79th position.
Fast bowler Neil Wagner achieved a career-high 13th ranking after his
figures of six for 41 in the first innings and two for 62 in the second
innings gave him a lift of four places. He trails eighth-ranked Trent
Boult by 70 points and 12th-ranked Tim Southee by 15 points.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner’s three wickets in the match gave
him a rise of 14 places and put him in 59th spot, while his team-mate
Ish Sodhi returned in 66th position.