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Samuels in Test top 20

Marlon Samuels’ resurgence on the international cricket scene is being noticed.

The stylish Jamaican batsman has broken into the top 20 of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen for the first time in his career.

Samuels, who returned to the West Indies team with a Test average of less than 30 after serving a two-year ban, has had a break-out 2012 where he has scored three Test centuries, and pushed his Test average up to 37.36.

He had a brilliant series on the tour of England and followed up that with another good series against New Zealand. Last week he registered his highest Test score when he made 260 against Bangladesh in Khulna. Samuels jumped 11 places to number 20.

Reliable middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul has moved to the number three position. The Guyanese left-hander, ICC’s Cricketer of the Year in 2008, moved up to third after rising two places following his 150 not out in the West Indies’ 10-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Khulna. He also made an unbeaten 203 in Dhaka.

Left-handed Trinidadian batting stylist Darren Bravo also jumped three places up the rankings to number 22 following his 127 last week in Khulna.

West Indies’ pacer Tino Best figured in the list of biggest movers in the bowler rankings. Best’s second innings figures of six for 30 that led the Windies to a second Test victory over Bangladesh, was the cornerstone of his 14-place rise to 42nd spot. Also, the West Indies have earned a point on the Reliance ICC Test Championship table after winning the series against Bangladesh by 2-0.

Aussie captain Michael Clarke regained the number-one ranking after his masterly 230 in the first innings of the second Test between Australia and South Africa which ended in a thrilling draw in Adelaide yesterday. Clarke has scored an unprecedented four double centuries during the current year.

The drawn Test in Adelaide means number-one position on the Reliance ICC Test Championship will be up for grabs when Australia and South Africa lock horns in the third and final Test that starts in Perth on Friday.

While South Africa require just a draw to retain the Test Championship mace, victory in Perth will help Australia reclaim the number-one Test spot for the first time since July 2009, irrespective of how the India-England Test series pans out.

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