ICC Test Rankings: Williamson closes in on No. 1 Kohli, Pujara back in top 5

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Kane Williamson, the first New Zealand batsman to surpass 900 points milestone in ICC Test Rankings, has closed in on Virat Kohli to intensify the battle of the No. 1 spot, which the Indian cricket team captain is occupying presently.

Williamson became the first Kiwi and 32nd batsman overall to break the 900-point barrier in the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen following a stellar performance in the third Test against Pakistan. His show had helped the Kiwis win their first away series against the Asian side in 49 years.

Williamson scored 89 and 139 in Abu Dhabi last week, which set up New Zealand’s convincing 123-run victory over Pakistan. This performance not only helped Williamson to win the Player of the Match award, but also earn 37 points in the latest player rankings, which, in turn, has allowed him to leapfrog Australia’s Steve Smith into second position on a career-high 913 points, states an International Cricket Council Press release.

Richard Hadlee, ICC’s Cricket Hall of Famer, is the only other New Zealand player – with bat or ball – to reach the 900-point mark in the ICC Test rankings. He reached 909 points with the ball following his five for 65 and six for 90 against Australia in Perth in November-December 1985.

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While Williamson was on a run and point gathering spree in Abu Dhabi, top ranked Kohli could strike only 3 and 34 in India’s impressive 31-run victory over Australia at the picturesque Adelaide Oval.

As a result, Kohli has conceded 15 points to slip to 920 points, just seven points ahead of Williamson.

Meanwhile, Adelaide Test’s man of the match Cheteshwar Pujara, whose knocks of 123 and 71 were the cornerstone of India’s victory, moved ahead of Joe Root and David Warner in fourth position. He trails third-ranked Smith by 55 points, and leads Root by 39 points.

Indian speedster Jasprit Bumrah has achieved a career-high 33rd ranking with his three for 47 and three for 68 helping him rise five places.

Nathan Lyon of Australia, who took eight wickets in the Test, has consolidated his 14th position while reducing the gap with 13th ranked Neil Wagner from 34 points to eight points.

Here are the top-ranked players on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings (as on 11 December, following the conclusion of the Adelaide and Abu Dhabi Tests)

BATSMEN (top 10) : 1. Virat Kohli  (Ind, 920), 2. Kane Williamson  (NZ, 913), 3. Steve Smith (Aus, 901), 4. Cheteswar Pujara (Ind, 846), 5. Joe Root (Eng, 807), 6. David Warner (Aus, 795), 7. D. Karunaratne (SL, 753), 8. Dean Elgar (SA, 724), 9. Henry Nicholls (NZ, 709) and 10. Azhar Ali (Pak, 708).

Ajinkya Rahane  (Ind, 653), following his half-century in the second innings at the Adelaide Oval has progressed to the 17th position.

BOWLERS (top 10): 1. Kagiso Rabada (SA, 882), 2. James Anderson (Eng, 874), 3. Vernon Philander (SA, 826), 4. M. Abbas (Pak, 821), 5. Ravindra Jadeja (Ind, 804), 6. R. Ashwin           (Ind, 786), 7. Pat Cummins (Aus, 770), 8. Trent Boult (NZ, 764), 9. Yasir Shah (Pak, 757) and 10. Jason Holder (WI, 751).

ALL-ROUNDERS (top five): 1. Shakib Al Hasan (Ban, 415), 2. Ravindra Jadeja (Ind, 392), 3. Vernon Philander (SA, 370), 4. Jason Holder (Win, 365) and 5. Ben Stokes (Eng, 342).

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