ISLAMABAD: England will be ranked second on the ICC Test Team Rankings following the conclusion of their series against Sri Lanka in Colombo next week. England’s 57-run victory in the second Test in Pallekele have given them an unassailable 2-0 lead and with it have also assured them of moving one place up to second irrespective of how the third Test pans out. If England win the Colombo Test, they will finish on 108 points, two more than South Africa, while Sri Lanka’s win will mean England will join South Africa on 106 points but will be ranked above the African side by a fraction of a point. A drawn Test will mean England will finish on 107 points – nine points behind number-one ranked India and one point ahead of South Africa – while Sri Lanka will slip to seventh place on 94 points in this scenario after starting the series on 97 points. Meanwhile, there have been plenty of movements in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings, which incorporates player performances in the Abu Dhabi, Mirpur and Pallekele Tests. In the batting charts, Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim has achieved a highest-ever position of 18th to date following his double-century against Zimbabwe. The wicketkeeper-batsman’s 219 not out in the first innings has given him a rise of five places, which has helped him to improve his previous highest ranking of 21st, which he had achieved in July 2017. From the same match, Zimbabwe’s Brendon Taylor’s two centuries (110 and 106 not out) have lifted him 18 places to 27th position and Mahmudullah has moved from 74th to 57th following scores of 36 and 101 not out. New Zealand’s Henry Nicholls has vaulted 13 places to a career-high 20th position following his crucial 28 and 55 in a low-scoring thriller against Pakistan that eventually ended in a four-run victory for the visitors in Abu Dhabi. Babar Azam of Pakistan has improved his ranking by 16 places, finishing in 63rd spot following contributions of 62 and 13. The biggest movers from the Pallekele Test have been Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva of Sri Lanka, and England’s Ben Foakes. Mathews has returned to the top-20 in 16th position after jumping five places, Silva is now 53rd (up by 25 places) and Foakes is 54th (up by 15 places) only after two Tests. The batting table is headed by Virat Kohli of India, followed by Australia’s Steve Smith, Kane Williamson of New Zealand and England’s Joe Root, who has collected 19 points following scores of 14 and 124 that also earned him the player of the match award. Yasir Shah of Pakistan and Bangladesh’s spin duo of Taijul Islam and Mehedi Hasan are the biggest movers inside the top-30 in the bowlers’ category. Yasir has returned inside the top-20 in 19th position after climbing two places following his match figures of eight for 163, while Taijul and Mehedi have achieved career-high positions. Taijul has moved three places to 27th following figures of five for 107 and two for 93, while Mehdi has leaped seven places to 28th following his eight wickets in the match. Outside the top-30, Zimbabwe’s Kyle Jarvis has risen 19 places to 40th, Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya is 41st (up by 14 places), Jack Leach of England is 43rd (up by 14 places) and Hasan Ali of Pakistan is 44th (up by 24 places). New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel, who scripted a famous win for his side on his debut with match figures of seven for 123, has entered the rankings in 68th spot. The bowlers’ list is headed by James Anderson of England, who has become the oldest bowler to be number-one since Muttiah Muralidaran in July 2009. Anderson is also the oldest seamer to be number-one since Richard Hadlee in 1990 and oldest England bowler to be number-one since Jim Laker in 1959. Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh continues to lead the all-rounders’ list. The change of note is the rise of Mehidi Hasan, who has moved up eight places to a career-high 15th position. Published in Daily Times, November 21st 2018.