The only ray of light for South Africa’s bowlers was the elevation of Keshav Maharaj. He has been rewarded with a rise of five places following his match figures of 12-283, including 9-129 in the first innings. Maharaj is now ranked 18th in the world and his tally of points (692) is the most for a South African spinner since Paul Harris reached 705 in December 2009.
The consequence of all this is that James Anderson will start England’s 1,000th Test, against India, as the No 1-ranked bowler in the world.
Rabada had claimed the top spot from Anderson following the Port Elizabeth Test against Australia earlier this year and had led by seven points. He now trails the England quick by 10 points.
Steyn, who remained wicketless in the Colombo Test, conceded 36 points and dropped five places. He is now ranked 24th on 635 points, which is his lowest points total since 544 in October 2007.
There was equally depressing news on the batting list, where Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram both slipped down the order: Elgar fell one place to ninth, while Markram slipped three to 10th. Hashim Amla also fell three places, to 14th.
The biggest mover in the latest rankings is South Africa’s middle-order batsman Theunis de Bruyn. Although De Bruyn’s 101 failed to save his side from a 199-run defeat, his maiden Test century in his sixth Test has lifted the 25-year-old from 148th to 105th, a gain of 43 places.
The batting table is headed by Australia’s Steve Smith, although second-ranked Virat Kohli will be eyeing the No 1 spot when he leads India in the five-Test series starting at Edgbaston next week. Kohli is presently 26 points behind Smith, but leads his third-ranked opposite number Joe Root by 48 points.
Second-ranked South Africa have joined Australia on 106 points after conceding six points, while sixth-ranked Sri Lanka have joined England on 97 points after collecting six points. However, South Africa is ranked above Australia and Sri Lanka is ranked below England when the points are calculated beyond the decimal point.
South Africa’s dip means India will retain their No 1 ranking irrespective of how their five-Test series against England pans out, but England can rise to as high as second if they make a clean sweep of the series. The series starts at Edgbaston on 1 August.
1 (-) Steve Smith (Australia) 929 pts, 61.37 av;
2 (-) Virat Kohli (India) 903 pts, 53.4 av
3 (-) Joe Root (England) 855 pts, 52.28 av
4 (-) Kane Williamson (NZ) 847 pts, 50.35 av
5 (-) David Warner (Australia) 820 pts, 48.2 av
6 (-) Cheteshwar Pujara (India) 799 pts, 50.34 av
7 (+3) Dimuth Karunaratne (SL) 754 pts, 37.28 av
8 (+1) Dinesh Chandimal (SL) 733 pts, 44.96 av
9 (-1) Dean Elgar (SA) 724 pts, 41.05 av
10 (-3) Aiden Markram (SA) 703 pts, 47.27 av
14 (-3) Hashim Amla (SA) 673 pts, 47.23 av
17 (-1) Faf du Plessis (SA) 665 pts, 42.33 av
1 (+1) James Anderson (England) 892 pts, 27.23 av
2 (-1) Kagiso Rabada (SA) 882 pts, 21.71 av
3 (-) Ravindra Jadeja (India) 866 pts, 23.11 av
4 (-) Vernon Philander (SA) 826 pts, 21.54 av
5 (-) Ravi Ashwin (India) 811 pts, 25.34 av
6 (-) Pat Cummins (Australia) 800 pts, 23.81 av
7 (-) Trent Boult (NZ) 795 pts, 27.95 av
8 (-) Rangana Herath (SL) 791 pts, 27.95 av
9 (-1) Neil Wagner (NZ) 765 pts, 28.26 av
10 (-) Josh Hazlewood (Australia) 759 pts, 26.84 av
18 (+5) Keshav Maharaj (SA) 692 pts, 27.62 av
Photo: Ian Kington/Getty Images