Sachin rises, Dravid slips in latest ICC rankings

Dubai: Iconic Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar rose a couple of rungs to be joint fourth but fellow veteran Rahul Dravid dropped out of the top 10 in the latest ICC Test rankings issued on Friday.

Tendulkar, who scored a half century in the opening MCG Test defeat against Australia, shared the fourth spot with South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, while Dravid slipped to 11th after dropping a couple of spots in the latest list, the ICC said in a release here. Among the bowlers, pace spearhead Zaheer Khan was the only Indian in the top-10 at an unchanged sixth position.

Among the Australians, fast bowler Peter Siddle, who took three for 63 and three for 42 in Australia`s 122-run victory, jumped five places to seventh, where he is joined by Sri Lankan Rangana Herath.

Herath claimed match figures of nine for 128 which turned out to be the cornerstone of Sri Lanka`s 208-run victory over South Africa on Thursday.

Australia fast bowlers Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson have also moved in the right direction. Hilfenhaus, who took five for 75 and two for 39, has gained seven spots in the rankings and now sits just outside the top 20 in 22nd position.

Man of the match Pattinson has been rewarded for match figures of six for 108 with a jump of five places which puts him in 31st spot.

There is something to cheer for young India fast bowler Umesh Yadav and South Africa`s debutant Marchant de Lange. Yadav has moved up five places to 42nd spot after figures of three for 106 and four for 70 while de Lange has entered the list in the 51st position after figures of seven for 81 and one for 45.

Siddle said he remembers the second evening when Tendulkar walked out to take the first strike and upper cut his first delivery over slips for a six. "It was the edge obviously. Jokes apart, it was a good stroke, you can`t do much about it. It`s a good shot he played, someday he could also edge it to wicketkeeper and on his day carry it over fence for six," he said.

The sturdy Victorian fast bowler needs just three wickets to complete his 100 in Tests. His 97 wickets have come from 28 Tests at an average of 30.78 with four five-wicket hauls. He also has a hat-trick to his name, against England at Brisbane, on his birthday last year.

Siddle put down the success of Australia`s bowling in recent times to the execution of plans that the bowlers are able to do in the middle as a unit"It`s the pressure we build. You bowl a few short deliveries to build pressure and stop them moving their feet. It paid off but it can go either way. We need to stick together as a bowling unit and build up pressure."

In trying to build pressure, Siddle and Pattinson, in particular appear to go overtly aggressive but the former said everyone in the team knows where to draw the line.
"We are fired up and determined on the field. Like when Dravid was bowled off a no-ball, I was fired up. But we know how far we can go. We go out there and play hard and fair. Its just how it comes across. We look to get wickets all the time," he said.

Siddle believed his team had moved on from Hobart and is getting better as a unit.
"We had a disappointment at Hobart. But we are going forward. Batters are also getting there. We are working as a unit. The group is upbeat and comfortable with each other. There`s still plenty to come. Presently, I am feeling good, strong and healthy. I really had a lot of injuries in the past. The big onus is on me at the moment to try and do things right," he said.

Ben Hilfenhaus, meanwhile, heaped praises on Siddle, especially applauding the Tasmanian fast bowler`s ability to build up pressure while running into the wind.

"His consistency with his line and the pressure he builds from the other end is amazing. He bowled into the breeze throughout the match and build up pressure from other end."

Hilfenhaus picked up seven wickets from the match including a fiver in the first innings. He also made 19 and 14 from his two innings.

The teams now head to Sydney where, in all probability, a good grassy wicket will be there to help the hosts yet again.

Aussies, who have included fast bowler Ryan Harris in the 12, could even opt to play with four quick bowlers and drop off-spinner Nathan Lyon. "The wicket has changed a bit and become better for the bowlers. But we still have to go out and do what we did here. We need to be patient, keep our lines. It has paid off for us in the last few months and we need to continue it. He (Lyon) bowled well, he`s an attacking bowler. The MCG track didn`t help spinners at all. He could take 5-6 wickets in the next innings."