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Clarke the world's No. 1 batsman after double ton

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Michael Clarke has struck four double centuries in 2012 © PA Photos
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Michael Clarke's record breaking form has seen him become the No. 1-ranked batsman in world cricket. Clarke's double centuries in Brisbane and Adelaide against South Africa have been rewarded with a return to the top of the ICC rankings.

It is the third time Clarke has officially been recognised as the best batsman in the world. Two centuries in the 2009 Ashes series saw him rise to No. 1 in August 2009 and he went back to the top of the rankings following 329 not out and 210 against India in January.

Two further double centuries - the most in a calendar year by anyone - and he is leading the pack once more, having begun 2012 in a lowly 20th place.

Clarke could also be holding the Test Championship mace if Australia beat South Africa in Perth to win the series. South Africa need only a draw to maintain their No. 1 status.

But Clarke's stint as No. 1 batsman could be shortlived if Kumar Sangakarra can turn around his lean form against New Zealand. Sangakarra is second in the rankings, having previously usurped Shivnarine Chanderpaul - now third after a double century and 150 against Bangladesh. Fellow West Indian Marlon Samuels has broken into the top 20 for the first time, reward for his best year in Test cricket and his career-best 260 in West Indies' win over Bangladesh in the second Test.

Kevin Pietersen is back in the top 10 after arguably his best innings, 186 against India in Mumbai. In seventh position he is one place below England captain Alastair Cook, whose centuries in the first two Tests in India have pushed him up a place.

In the bowling rankings, Graeme Swann, now sixth, has also jumped back above James Anderson, 10th, to become the highest-rated England bowler following his eight-wickets at the Wankhede.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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