Dubai: The South Africans hogged three spots in the latest MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings for bowlers, with Kagiso Rabada still No.1, Vernon Philander shooting up to No.3, and Morne Morkel finishing his international career at No.6 with a career-best 800 rating points.
All this, even as the Player of the Series in the New Zealand v England exchanges, Trent Boult, ended up slipping by one spot.
Keshav Maharaj picked up 17 wickets and Nathan Lyon took 16 in the four Tests between South Africa and Australia, but the fast bowlers did the most damage on the whole, which was reflected in the tables released on Wednesday 4 April.
Rabada slipped in terms of points – 902 after the Port Elizabeth Test to 897 at the end of the series, which his team won 3-1 – but held on to the No.1 spot. The 22-year-old fast bowler ended the series with 23 wickets, which was the best across the two teams.
Philander, meanwhile, saved his best for last. On the final day of the series in Johannesburg, Philander struck with his very first ball, then again later in the over, and had Australian batsmen walking back with alarming frequency in a memorable spell.
He started the day’s play with 0/9 from five overs and ended with 6/21 from 13 to send Australia hurtling to a 492-run defeat.
Morkel, meanwhile, bowled despite a side strain in the Johannesburg Test, his last, and returned 1/34 and 2/28 to take his series tally to 15 wickets from three Tests.
After the third Test in Cape Town, he had reached a career-high 798 points and bettered that by getting to 800 points by the end of the series and keeping his sixth position intact.
Cummins picked up nine wicket in the last Test to get to 22 wickets for the series and moved up 12 places to joint No.6.
Across in New Zealand too, the pacers held sway by picking up 58 wickets as compared to seven by the spinners.
Boult topped the wicket-takers’ list at the end of the two-Test series – won 1-0 by New Zealand – with 15 strikes and was followed by Tim Southee (12), Stuart Broad (11) and Anderson (8).
Despite the starring role he played, winning the Player of the Series award, Boult ended up slipping a spot in the rankings, from No.7 to No.8, even as Broad (up five spots to No.12) and Southee (up three places to No.13) gained.
For Boult, who had shot up the rankings after a match haul of 9/99 in the first Test in Auckland, the comparatively poorer returns in the drawn second Test – 6/176 – affected his position.
The top 10 is completed by Ravindra Jadeja (No.4), Ashwin (No.5), Rangana Herath (No.9) and Neil Wagner (No.10).