With a four-wicket victory over Pakistan inside four days at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday, the Proteas clinched a test series victory. It was their fifth win in a row and their sixth series triumph in succession.
The victory means South Africa will be number one on the Reliance ICC Test Championship table on the 1 April cut-off date.
Neither England nor Australia, ranked second and third in the standings, and losers at home to the Proteas in 2012, will be able to catch Graeme Smith and company, regardless of their results in test series against New Zealand and India respectively.
After taking 9 for 99 in the win in Cape Town, Vernon Philander has taken his test bowling ranking to a career high of 889 points, only 18 points behind world number one Dale Steyn.
It opens up the possibility of two players from the same team achieving the elite 900-point mark at the same time. To put that astounding achievement in context, since the first test match was played in 1877, only 20 players have managed to reach 900 points.
Morne Morkel, who suffered an injury after sending down only three overs in the second innings at Newlands, is in ninth place in the bowling rankings, giving South Africa three players in the top 10. England and Australia have two players on that list. Therefore, there appears to be a very important correlation between a team’s bowling ability and its overall performance.
Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal, who picked up 10 for 147 in the match, is up to a career best ranking of 847 points. He occupies third place in the rankings.
Among batsman, Hashim Amla tops the test batting rankings with 893 points after innings of 25 and 58.
AB de Villiers is in fourth place on a career high 851 points after scoring 61 and 36. Jacques Kallis, who the ICC admitted should not have been given out in the first innings, is in eighth place, while captain Graeme Smith occupies 13th spot.