South African bowler Vernon Philander.

South African bowler Vernon Philander. Photo: AFP

South Africa paceman Vernon Philander has ended compatriot Dale Steyn's four-year reign as the world's top-ranked bowler.

The 28-year-old took top spot in the latest ICC Rankings after out-shining Steyn in the dramatic drawn first Test against India in Johannesburg where South Africa fell just short of chasing down a world record run chase.

Philander claimed seven wickets in the match while Steyn, who had taken over from Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralidaran as the world's top bowler in July 2009, managed just one wicket.

"I am happy with my position as the No.1 ranked Test bowler. It is an honour to have been bowling alongside a champion like Dale," said Philander.

"It's been a great couple of years for our squad, and I have been fortunate enough to contribute to our success on the field.

"What has been the most pleasing, though, for us has been the all-round contribution from everyone in the squad that has been the main reason for our success over the last few years.

"Needless to say, it is always easier to be at the top of your game and successful when you are part of a winning team.

"Dale has been a tireless workhorse for us and continues to consistently put in quality performances for our team, it is no wonder that he was at the top of the bowling ranking for so long."

In the batting rankings, South Africa's AB de Villiers, who made a century in Johannesburg, consolidated his No.1 spot with teammate Hashim Amla in second spot.