Smith retains top spot in ICC rankings

Dubai, Feb 26 (IANS) Australia captain Steve Smith has consolidated his position at the top of the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen following his outstanding batting effort in the opening Test against India.

Smith scored 109 during Australia’s second innings to help his team win by 333 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

The 27-year-old right-hander reached a career-high 939 rating points which is the sixth best ever after Don Bradman (961), Len Hutton (945), Jack Hobbs and Ricky Ponting (both 942) and Peter May (941).

Gary Sobers, Viv Richards and Kumar Sangakkara all had career-high ranking points of 938, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Sunday.

Smith, who scored 27 and 109 in Pune to gain six points, now leads Indian captain Virat Kohli by 66 points while England batsman Joe Root is 91 points behind him at third place with 848 points.

Australian opener Matt Renshaw has moved up 18 places to a career-best 34th position scoring 68 and 31 while Indian opener Lokesh Rahul has climbed 11 spots to reach a career-best 46th position.

In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, Australia’s left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe has rocketed up 33 slots to a career-best 29th place after figures of 12 for 70 over two innings which earned him the Player of the Match award.

O’ Keefe’s figures are the cheapest 12-wicket haul in Test cricket, beating ICC Hall of Famer George Lohmann’s 12 for 71 against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1896.

India’s Ravichandran Ashwin remains at the top of the bowlers’ rankings with 878 points after taking seven wickets.

His spin partner Ravindra Jadeja now has company at the second spot as Josh Hazlewood has caught up with him with 860 points.

Indian fast bowler Umesh Yadav’s six wickets in the match have seen him gain four slots to reach the 30th spot.

Australian pace bowler Mitchell Starc has moved up three slots in the list of all-rounders to fourth position after his fighting knocks of 61 and 30.

Starc, ranked 10th among the bowlers, has also moved up 27 places in the list of batsmen to a career-best 61st rank.

–IANS

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