Ashwin maintains top spot in Test rankings

Dubai, Dec 13 (IANS) India’s star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has consolidated his position at the top of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) rankings for Test bowlers after his match haul of 12 wickets in the fourth Test against England in Mumbai.

The Tamil Nadu spinner registered a match haul of 12/167 to help the Indians defeat the visitors by an innings and 36 runs for an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Ashwin, who had touched the 900-point mark for the first time in October when he had reclaimed the top ranking, has reached 904 points to run up a 37-point lead over second placed Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka.

Ashwin’s rating is the second best by an off-spinner after Muttiah Muralitharan (920), fifth best among spinners after Tony Lock (912), Derek Underwood (907) and Shane Warne (905), and the 18th in the overall list.

Ashwin, who grabbed six wickets each in the two innings in Mumbai, had finished the 2015 year-end rankings as the top ranked bowler and was also at the top briefly in July this year.

He is also the top-ranked all-rounder at 483 points and enjoys a healthy lead over Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, who is on 405 points with England’s Ben Stokes third with 341 points.

Ashwin’s spin partner Ravindra Jadeja has bridged the gap with Stokes to just one point in the all-rounders’ list after taking six wickets in Mumbai.

Jadeja’s continued success has also helped him reach a career best ranking of sixth among Test bowlers.

In the rankings for Test batsmen, India captain Virat Kohli has continued his surge towards the top after his double century in India’s only innings in Mumbai earned him the man of the match award.

The 28-year-old’s highest Test score of 235 runs has earned him 53 points, which has lifted him by one position to a career best second rank.

Kohli, who is currently ranked second in both One-Dayers and first in Twenty20 Internationals, is just 11 points behind Australia captain Steve Smith, who will get a chance to maintain his top ranking in an upcoming three-Test series against Pakistan.

Other India players to make upward movements among batsmen are opener Murali Vijay and all-rounder Jayant Yadav.

Vijay has moved up five places to the 24th position after his knock of 136 in the fourth Test while Yadav’s 104 runs at the number nine position has pushed him up 31 slots to the 56th rank.

For England, debutant opener Keaton Jennings has entered the batsmen’s rankings at an impressive 64th position after knocks of 112 and zero in the fourth Test.