Vernon Philander.

Johannesburg – England's batsman Kevin Pietersen has returned to the top 10 of the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen after smashing a century against South Africa in the second Test, which ended in a draw at Headingley, Leeds, on Monday.

The latest rankings were released after the conclusion of the Leeds Test.

Pietersen's knock of 149 in England's first innings score of 425 not only earned him the Man of the Match award but also provided him with a leap of seven places, which has put him in 10th position.

Alistair Cook retained his eighth position after scores of 24 and 46 while Jonathan Trott gained two places and is now just outside the top 10 in 14th position in the list, which is headed by Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara.

South Africa opener Alviro Petersen, the other centurion of the Leeds Test, was rewarded with a jump of 17 places, placing him in 31st spot.

Protea batsman, Jacques Rudolph, also moved upward into the 55th spot.

The news is not so good for captains Ross Taylor and Andrew Strauss, as well as Chris Gayle, who have dropped in the latest rankings.

Meanwhile, South Africa's fast bowler Vernon Philander achieved a career-best ranking as well as career-best rating after match figures of 3/98.

He leapfrogged Sri Lanka's left-arm spinner Rangana Herath into third position, while his current rating of 797 means he trails his team-mate and number-one ranked Dale Steyn by 91 ratings points and Pakistan's second-ranked off-spinner Saeed Ajmal by 35 ratings points.

England's Stuart Broad is the other mover inside the top 20. The fast bowler, who recorded match figures of eight for 165, climbed two places to seventh.

In the ICC Test Championship, England needs to win the Lords Test, starting from August 16, to retain its number-one position while South Africa requires a draw to move to the top of the tree.

If England wins the Test, it will finish on 121 ratings points, pushing South Africa behind Australia into third position on 114 ratings points.

However, if England loses the Test, then it will slip to second position on 117 ratings points while South Africa will move to number-one spot on 120 ratings points.

If England salvages a draw, then both the sides will be tied on 118 ratings points with South Africa taking the top spot by a fraction (0.1634) of a point. – Sapa