25th November 2020

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Steven Smith back as No. 1 Test batsman as Virat Kohli slides

Virat Kohli‘s match aggregate of 21 runs in the Wellington Test against New Zealand, which went the way of the home team by 10 wickets, has allowed Steven Smith to reclaim the top spot in the Test rankings for batsmen, the Australian getting to No. 1 for the eighth time in his career.

The top spot has changed hands between Smith and Kohli for the longest time, with only Kane Williamson occupying the position for a brief eight-day period in December 2015, and the New Zealand captain has returned to No. 3 on the table by jumping past Marnus Labuschagne after scoring 89 in his only innings at Basin Reserve.

Among the Indian batsmen who were part of the action in Wellington, Ajinkya Rahane’s 46 and 29 have taken him up by a spot to No. 8 and Mayank Agarwal has gone up to No. 10 following scores of 34 and 58, but Cheteshwar Pujara has slipped two spots to ninth after identical scores of 11 in the two innings. From the New Zealand side, Ross Taylor, who was playing his 100th Test, has gone up three spots to No. 13 after scoring 44 the only time he got to bat.

Over to the bowlers, and there were big gains for Tim Southee and Trent Boult, who picked up nine and five wickets in the match, respectively. Southee has moved up eight positions to sixth, his best since being No. 5 in June 2014, while Boult has moved up four spots to joint-13th with Pakistan’s Mohammad Abbas. Neil Wagner, who missed the first Test against India because of the birth of his first child, remains the top-ranked New Zealand bowler at No. 2 behind Pat Cummins.

The Bangladesh v Zimbabwe Test in Dhaka, meanwhile, was a great one for the home side, which won by an innings and 106 runs.

Their stars were Mushfiqur Rahim and Mominul Haque with the bat and Nayeem Hasan and Abu Jayed with the ball, and they too gained in the rankings. Mushfiqur’s unbeaten 203 lifted him five places to No. 20, while Haque’s 132 helped him go up to No. 39, a rise of five spots. Hasan’s nine wickets for the match took him up 29 places to 38th, while Jayed, who picked up four wickets in the Zimbabwe first innings, got to No. 46, up by 11.

Craig Ervine, the stand-in captain in Sean Williams’ absence, played his part for Zimbabwe with 107 and 43, the best for his team in either innings, and moved up 15 places to 40th place.


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