Ian Bell rises to third in ICC Test rankings

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The Independent Online

Ian Bell has moved up to number three in the International Cricket Council Test rankings as well as the England batting order.

Bell has demonstrated a liking for his elevated batting position in the absence of the injured Jonathan Trott, making 159 at Trent Bridge and 235 in the final npower Test at The Oval as England completed a 4-0 whitewash of India.



The 29-year-old has publicly accepted he is likely to have to drop back down to number five for England once the prolific Trott returns.



But he could scarcely have been a better deputy, and his contributions to England's landslide victories were reflected this afternoon in updated ICC rankings which also confirmed a significant rise for his team-mate Kevin Pietersen.



Bell and Pietersen shared a record third-wicket stand of 350 at The Oval, helping the former up to joint third in the ICC table alongside England opener Alastair Cook and his accomplice back up five places to number eight in the world.



England can boast six bowlers in the top 20 and four batsmen in the top 10, having finished their Test year undefeated in eight matches against three sets of opponents.



India have collectively failed to do themselves justice this summer.



But Rahul Dravid has been a shining exception, with three hundreds against England, and he is therefore back up to 10th position in a batting table headed by South Africa's Jacques Kallis.



In the bowling rankings led by South Africa's Dale Steyn, England off-spinner Graeme Swann is up two places to third - just behind James Anderson and above Stuart Broad in fifth.



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