AB overtakes Smith atop ICC Test rankings


South Africa’s AB de Villiers surged to the top of the batting chart in the latest ICC Test rankings, which were released on Tuesday following the conclusion of the Brisbane and Mohali Tests.

De Villiers had achieved the number-one batting position for the first time in March 2012 and last was at the summit earlier this year in January, before he was overtaken by Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara following his 203 against New Zealand in Wellington.

De Villiers scored 63 and 16 against India in the Mohali Test and leapfrogged Australia captain Steven Smith, who scored 48 and one against New Zealand in Brisbane.

De Villiers leads Smith by just one point but the rise of New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and David Warner of Australia means the top seven batsmen are now separated by just 44 points.

Williamson scored 140 and 59, and was rewarded with a jump of two places, which put him in fifth position for the first time in his career. Warner’s two centuries in the Brisbane Test also lifted him two places, to seventh spot.

India’s Murali Vijay and South Africa’s Dean Elgar were the other top-ranked batsmen to achieve-career high rankings.

Vijay’s 75 and 47 vaulted him eight places to 11th position, meaning that he became India’s highest-ranked batsman. Cheteshwar Pujara gained five places following his contribution of 31 and 77 but two places behind Vijay in 13th spot.

Elgar moved up four places to 34th and was one of four batsmen outside the top 20 to achieve career-best rankings, with the others being Adam Voges at 44th (up by five places), Joe Burns at 47th (up by 56 places) and Mark Craig at 57th (up by eight places).

Batsmen sliding in the latest rankings following the Brisbane and Mohali Tests included Virat Kohli at 16th (down by five places), Ross Taylor at 17th (down by four places), Ajinkya Rahane at 24th (down by three places), BJ Watling at 25th (down by two places) and Shikhar Dhawan at 38th (down by eight places).

In the rankings for Test bowlers, Dale Steyn remained the number-one ranked bowler, but following Ravichandran Ashwin’s five for 51 and three for 39, the India off-spinner returned to the top five after rising three places.

Mitchell Starc’s four for 57 and two for 69 helped the left-arm fast bowler achieve a career-best ranking of 13th after moving up seven places, while India’s left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja rocketed 10 places to a career-high 21st position following match figures of eight for 76 that also earned him the player of the Mohali Test award.

Amit Mishra at 34th (up by three places), Imran Tahir at 51st (up by nine places) and Mitchell Marsh at 58th (up by 14 places) were the other bowlers to achieve career-best rankings.

There was no change in the list of top three all-rounders, which was headed by Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh, though Starc moved up two places to seventh and Jadeja climbed10 places to 13th in career-high gains for both players.