Cape Town – Proteas opener Aiden Markram has surged to a career-best ninth position in the latest ICC Test player rankings for batsmen.
The 23-year-old’s knocks of 152 and 37 not only contributed to South Africa’s massive 492-run victory over Australia in Johannesburg, but also helped him move up six places in the latest rankings update, which also takes into account performances in the drawn second Test between New Zealand and England in Christchurch.
Markram, who led South Africa to victory in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2014, has broken into the top 10 for the first time and is now among a select group of 10 cricketers led by Australia’s Donald Bradman who have scored 1 000 runs or more in their first 10 Tests.
Markram’s opening partner Dean Elgar, ranked eighth, also soared after scoring 100 runs in the Test, including a knock of 81 in the second innings, while captain Faf du Plessis (up five places to 17th) and Temba Bavuma (up 12 places to 39th) are the other South Africa batsmen to make significant gains.
For Australia, captain Tim Paine has moved up eight places to 53rd position while for England, captain Joe Root (up one place to third), wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow (up three places to 13th) and Mark Stoneman (up 14 places to 64th) are the others to progress.
MORKEL TOUCHES 800-POINT MARK
Meanwhile on the bowling front, the Proteas fast bowlers who ruled the roost in Johannesburg also made strides in the rankings.
Seamer Vernon Philander’s man-of-the-match effort of nine for 51 has lifted him six places to third, while player-of-the-series Kagiso Rabada remains at the top adding three points to take his tally to 902.
Morne Morkel also finished his last Test on a high.
Morkel, who bowled despite a side strain in the second innings at the Wanderers, touched 800 rating points for the first time in his career. He is now ranked joint-sixth along with Australia’s Pat Cummins, who has risen up from 18 to sixth place with nine wickets in Johannesburg.
The 33-year-old Morkel, who debuted in the 2006 Boxing Day Test against India in Durban, first broke into the top 10 in January 2010. His consistent performances ensured that he was never ranked lower than 15 from that time until retirement, while enjoying a career-high position of third in November 2010.
In other movements, New Zealand’s man-of-the-match Tim Southee has moved up three places to take the 13 slot while Stuart Broad has gained five slots to reach 12 place.