MICHAEL CLARKE has flown up the Test world rankings for batsmen thanks to his triple century at the SCG, rising a dozen places to eighth - his highest position in 15 months.
The Test captain's record-breaking 329 not out sank India in the second Test last week and brought immediate rewards with the release of the new International Cricket Council player rankings last night.
Clarke's rise from 20th to eighth makes him the top Australian batsman, having surpassed Michael Hussey (12th). Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara remains atop the ICC batting list, followed by South African champion Jacques Kallis and England's Alastair Cook. But for Clarke, his top-10 entry is his highest rating since during Australia's tour of India in October 2010.
While the 30-year-old was the major benefactor in the updated rankings, Hussey also rose four places from 16th as a result of his unbeaten 150 in Sydney while Ricky Ponting, who scored his first Test century in nearly two years, is up a spot to 23rd.
There was further good news for Australia. Ben Hilfenhaus rose 11 places to 11th in the Test bowlers rankings after his eight-wicket return in the second Test. It is the first time the Tasmanian has been listed in the top 20. Peter Siddle, at seventh, is the only Australian bowler in the top 10, while injured quick James Pattinson is up two spots to 29th.
India's wretched start to the four-Test series against Australia is also reflected. Ranked the leading nation in Test cricket last year, they will now surrender their second placing no matter what the results in the remainder of the Border-Gavaskar series. South Africa, after a 2-1 win over Sri Lanka, is now behind only England. Australia will draw level in third with India if they sweep the series in Perth and Adelaide.
Sachin Tendulkar fell two places to sixth in the batting category, Rahul Dravid fell four spots to 15th, V.V.S. Laxman is down one to 18th and Virender Sehwag fell to 22nd.
Meanwhile, Clarke's desire to play in the domestic Twenty20 tournament, as well as the Indian Premier League, is likely to trigger a scramble of interest from teams in those competitions.
Clarke's presence would give the Big Bash League the ultimate credibility boost, and both Sydney franchises would be desperate to land the Test captain, according to Sydney Sixers boss Stuart Clark.
Clarke raised heartbeats late last week by forecasting a return to the shortest form of the game, on which he previously turned his back.
''I would like to take part in Twenty20 cricket going forward,'' Clarke said. ''It won't be for Australia but I look forward to getting the chance to play IPL, I look forward to the chance to play in the Big Bash and the Australian tournament.
''I've enjoyed watching it, to be honest. I think the Champions League and the IPL are wonderful.''
Clarke quit the Australian T20 captaincy and the format itself a year ago in the midst of a batting slump. He did not nominate for this summer's revamped, city-based Big Bash League, and has never played in the IPL, but having the Test captain on board next summer would be an ideal marketing tool for local competition organisers.
''I think he was torn between playing it this year and taking on the new job,'' Clark said. ''To have Michael would be another boost for a competition that's doing well with TV ratings and everything like that.''