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England eye rankings boost

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Graeme Swann

England off-spinner Graeme Swann has closed the gap on Dale Steyn at the top of the Reliance ICC Test bowling rankings

England are on course to reclaim their all-time highest placing in the Reliance ICC Test Championship table, after their innings victory over Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

Andrew Strauss’ team need to follow suit against the tourists in the remaining two matches, at Lord’s and the Rose Bowl, for the 3-0 clean sweep which would take them above South Africa and into second.

Only India, set to play a four-Test series against England later this summer, would then stand between them and the number one spot which they covet but have never inhabited. England were last in second place in November 2007.

Jonathan Trott’s man-of-the-match double-hundred and Graeme Swann’s seven-wicket haul have also consolidated their individual places in the Reliance ICC Player Rankings.

Off-spinner Swann remains second among the bowlers but has narrowed the gap to South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn, in first place.

Trott and fellow Cardiff centurions Ian Bell and Alastair Cook are on an upward curve too.

England’s number three is third, alongside his Sri Lanka opposite number Kumar Sangakkara; Cook is one place behind them, and Bell is up to a career-high 18th.