India has reclaimed the top spot in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Test rankings on Wednesday after a gap of almost four and a half years, thanks to their recent series win over South Africa at home.

India had previously held the number one Test position from December 2009 to August 2011. They were guaranteed the top position after South Africa trailed 0-2 after three Tests in the recent four-Test series in the sub-continent.

The rankings were released following the conclusion of the Centurion Test in which South Africa defeated England by 280 runs.

But the Virat Kohli-led Indian team cannot afford to breathe easy. With only 11 points separating top-ranked India from sixth-ranked New Zealand, there is potential for further changes before the April 1 annual cut-off date.

Australia and South Africa are on equal points at 109 but when the points are calculated beyond the decimal point, Australia are ranked second as they have 109.4 points as compared to third-placed South Africa’s 108.9.

In the ICC Test player rankings, South Africans Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and England’s Ben Stokes have made impressive gains.

Rabada recorded figures of 7/112 and 6/32 in the two innings of the Centurion Test to vault 32 places to 30th in the rankings for Test bowlers.

Rabada started the series in the 122nd position and has gained 92 places after earning 447 points following his 22 wickets in the series. As Rabada is still in the qualification period for bowlers, he is expected to move further up the ladder, depending on how he performs later this year.

De Kock scored his maiden unbeaten Test century in the final Test against England. As a result, the left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman has broken into the top 50 for the first time, occupying the 48th position after rising 27 places.

Amla scored 109 and 96 in the Centurion Test. For this performance, Amla has been rewarded with a jump of four places, which has put him in fourth place.

Stokes, who scored 166 runs and took seven wickets in the U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 where England finished eighth, has achieved career-high rankings in the bowlers’ and all-rounders’ categories.

He has moved up three places to 27th in the bowling table while he has leapfrogged Vernon Philander and Ravindra Jadeja into fourth place in the all-rounders’ list.

The bowling table is headed by England’s Stuart Broad while Ravichandran Ashwin is the top-ranked all-rounder.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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