Vol. 5 Num 568 Sat. December 31, 2005  

Ponting best for 2005

Ricky Ponting has ended 2005 as the best batsman in Test cricket, according to the official LG player ratings.

The Aussie captain hit 1,544 runs in the calendar year, the closest player yet to Viv Richards' 1,710 in 1976.

And that performance allowed him to end the year top of the pile, with Brian Lara second and Inzamamul Haq and Matthew Hayden sharing third spot.

Shane Warne swapped with fellow Aussie Glenn McGrath to be number one bowler while Andre Nel crept into the top 10.

Warne took six wickets in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, where Ponting hit his fifth century of the year.

Ponting's gain was very much Jacques Kallis' loss - the South African's MCG performance (23 & 9) seeing him fall from top of the pile to fifth.