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Australian team, players' rankings rise

By AAP .
7 January 2014 03:04AM EST

THREE of Australia's Ashes heroes are among the biggest movers in the latest ICC Test player rankings with the team improving up to third position as well.

Fast bowler Ryan Harris moved up two spots to a career-best third in the bowling charts after his match figures of 8-61 against England in Sydney helped Australia clinch a 5-0 series whitewash.

His fellow fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, meanwhile, has climbed three spots to eighth on the back of a phenomenal run of success against England which saw him finish with 37 wickets and named player of the series.

The left-armer has jumped 14 spots during the five Tests.

The top two in the bowling rankings remain unchanged, with South Africa duo Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn leading the way.

A number of Australians have also been powering up the Test rankings for batsmen, with opener Chris Rogers up 10 places to a best-ever 12th after scoring 119 in the second innings of his side's 281-run victory at the SCG.

The 36-year-old moved 32 places over the course of the series, while two of his teammates have also rocketed up the rankings following the fifth and final Test, with Steven Smith up 20 to 21st spot and in-form wicketkeeper Brad Haddin climbing eight to 23.

For England, Ben Stokes - whose performances in the Ashes were one of the few bright spots for the tourists - has moved up 27 spots to 55th in the batting rankings.

The Durham all-rounder is also up to 53rd in the bowling standings, a rise of 36 places.

Heading the batting rankings is still South Africa's AB de Villiers, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies) and Ross Taylor (New Zealand) completing the top three.

Meanwhile, as a team Australia has jumped two places to third on the world Test rankings, overtaking England and Pakistan.

Michael Clarke's men climbed to within six points of second-placed India with their 281-run rout of England. Australia's third-ever clean sweep of the Ashes brought them 10 points for ratings of 111.

England's crushing defeat cost them nine points and saw them slide to fourth place at 107, five points clear of Pakistan.

South Africa remain comfortably atop the world rankings at 133 points, according to the International Cricket Council.

It is a remarkable turnaround for the Australians who had a forgettable year in 2013 -- losing a four-Test series to India without a single win and the previous Ashes series in England 3-0.

Clarke is targeting the top spot in Test cricket and Australia's three-game series against South Africa in February-March will be a major test of his in-form squad.

India will have a chance to shore up their position with a two-Test series against eighth-placed New Zealand beginning in February.

England face Sri Lanka, ranked sixth, for two Tests in June.

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