Williamson inches closer to top ranking


Kane Williamson is now just two steps away from the top spot in the ICC rankings for Test Batsmen, which were released after the conclusion of the Dunedin and Hobart Tests.

Williamson earned the rise to third place, just three points off South Africa’s AB de Villiers, thanks to two consistent knocks of 88 and 71, helping New Zealand extend their winning streak to 12 home Test victories in a row, after they beat Sri Lanka by 122 runs.

Williamson’s team-mate Martin Guptill jumped up a remarkable 18 places, after scoring 156 and 46. Guptill was rewarded with only his second man of the match award in Tests.

Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum moved up two places to 17th, while his Sri Lanka opposite number Angelo Matthews marked the visiting side’s presence in the top 10 batsman rankings, down one place to seventh.

Over in Hobart, Australia skipper Steven Smith tumbled three places to fourth and he is now just 11 points ahead of his team-mate David Warner.

But there was better news for Adam Voges who led the charge for Australia with a first innings double-century. The Western Australia batsman remained unbeaten on 269, thus ensuring his side did not need to bat again in the Test. Australia has taken a 1-0 lead in the series after beating West Indies by an innings and 212 runs.

Voges’ knock vaulted him 19 places to a career-high 15th place in the latest rankings. Shaun Marsh supported Voges ably, scoring 182, and together the pair added a sixth-highest all time partnership of 449 runs. In the process, Marsh rose 17 spots to a career best 37th in the batsman rankings.

West Indies Darren Bravo was rewarded for being the lone centurion from his side, moving up two spots to 25th.

In the rankings for Test Bowlers, Australia’s Josh Hazlewood entered the top 10, rising up four spots after claiming seven wickets in Australia’s win over the West Indies, while off-spinner Nathan Lyon moved up two spots into 15th after a three-wicket haul in Hobart.

New Zealand’s Trent Boult grabbed four wickets against Sri Lanka allowing him to retain sixth place as the top six spots in the bowler rankings remained unchanged.

Dale Steyn maintained pole position which he has done since December 2013, while Rangana Herath’s two wickets were enough to keep him in 10th position. Nuwan Pradeep’s four wickets in the first innings earned him a six-point rise up the rankings to 53rd.

The all-rounders held steady in the top four positions, Ravindra Jadeja managing to move up a spot and entered the top five club, for a career best fifth place ranking and has Proteas’ Vernon Philander in his sights.