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Steve Smith displaces Virat Kohli to take top spot in Test rankings

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Steve Smith has ousted Virat Kohli to become the No.1 batsman on the ICC Test rankings following the latest update.

Smith took the top spot after Kohli was dismissed for a golden duck by Kemar Roach in Jamaica. The feat completes Smith’s stunning comeback to the sport, following his 12-month ban for the Newlands ball-tampering scandal last year, during which time Kohli overtook him on the charts.

Smith scored 144 and 142 in his first Test since March 2018, and helped rescue and then power Australia to victory at Edgbaston. He went on to score a battling 92 in the second Test at Lord’s, despite being felled by a searing spell of short-pitched bowling from Jofra Archer.

Smith has made a stunning return to Test cricket

Smith has made a stunning return to Test cricket

He missed the third Test at Headingley while recovering from concussion, but with Kohli not making the most of his starts in the West Indies – he scored 9, 76, 51 and 0 – Smith had done enough to close the gap to the India captain.

Kohli has had a poor 2019 in Test cricket, by his own lofty standards. He hasn’t scored a century in five Test innings – across Australia and West Indies – and averages 31.80 this year. While Smith will now have a chance to build his lead in the remainder of the Ashes, Kohli will have to wait till the South Africa Tests, starting in October.

Despite Kohli’s drop, India had something to cheer about in the rise of Jasprit Bumrah. The paceman, who has taken an incredible 62 wickets in 12 Tests at 19.25, had figures of 5-7 and 6-27 in two Tests against West Indies. The second of those, in Kingston, included a hat-trick. Bumrah ended the series with 13 wickets in two matches, at an incredible 9.23.

Having made his Test debut in 2018, Bumrah’s superb returns have boosted him to No.3 on the bowlers’ rankings, a rise of three places. His performances have been lauded the world over, with Kohli calling him the “most complete bowler in world cricket” following his Player-of-the-Series performance against West Indies.

Bumrah has been in stunning form since his Test debut last year

Bumrah has been in stunning form since his Test debut last year

Elsewhere, Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, had some joy despite his team’s collapse to India – the all-rounder rose to No.4 in the Test bowlers’ rankings to go with the top spot in the ICC all-rounders’ charts.

That meant Holder is now tied with Jimmy Anderson in the bowlers’ rankings, the England paceman unable to feature in the ongoing Ashes, having been ruled out with a calf injury that re-emerged four overs into his spell during the opening Test.

Among other changes, Ajinkya Rahane moved up four places to No.7 in the batting charts following his century and half-century in Antigua, while G Hanuma Vihari, who played his sixth Test in Jamaica and scored his maiden Test century, jumped 40 places to No.30.

Joe Root and Ben Stokes remain the top-ranked England batsmen,  at No.6 and No.13 respectively, while Jonny Bairstow dropped one place to No.32 and Jos Buttler moved up two places to No.41.

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