CAPE TOWN – South African duo Aiden Markram and Vernon Philander surged upwards on the the latest ICC player rankings list after the Proteas history-making fourth Test victory over Australia in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Proteas opener Markram has sustained his rise towards the top during an amazing first year in Test cricket, making his way to a career-best ninth position. The 23-year-old’s knocks of 152 and 37 not only contributed to the Proteas’ massive 492 runs victory for a 3-1 series win but has also helped him move up six places to ninth position 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 Don Bradman who have scored 1 000 runs or more in their first 10 Tests.
Markram’s opening partner Dean Elgar too has advanced 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.
Not surprisingly, the Proteas fast bowlers ruling the roost in Johannesburg sees several of them making the latest rankings update a joyful one.
Opening bowler Philander’s Man of the Match effort of 9/51 has lifted him six places to third, while Man of the Series Kagiso Rabada remains at the top adding three points to take his tally to 902.
Meanwhile, Morne Morkel retired from international cricket on a high, touched 800 points for the first time in his career.
Morkel, who bowled despite a side strain in the second innings of his last Test, is now ranked joint-sixth along with Australia’s Pat Cummins, who has risen up from 18th 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 15th from that time till retirement, while enjoying a career-high position of third in November 2010.
Faf du Plessis’s Proteas have also closed the gap on World No 1 India by moving to two points to 117 – just four points behind Virat Kohli’s team.