Anderson reclaims top Test ranking


England paceman James Anderson has reclaimed the number-one ranking from India’s Ravichandran Ashwin in the ICC rankings for Test bowlers. 

The rankings were updated following the conclusion of the Edgbaston Test which England won by 141 runs to take a 2-1 lead over Pakistan.

Anderson had entered the Edgbaston Test trailing Ashwin by one point, but he opened up a 12-point gap over the India spinner. This followed Anderson’s four wickets against third-ranked Pakistan, which earned him six points, as compared to Ashwin’s six wickets against eighth-ranked West Indies in the Jamaica Test which cost him six points.

This is the second time in less than six weeks that Anderson has topped the bowling table. He had surged to the top of the chart for the first time in his career on 31 May after he took eight wickets in England’s nine-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the second Test at Chester-le-Street. 

But the competition at the top of the table is so tight that the number-one ranking has thrice changed hands from Yasir Shah to Ashwin and back to Anderson.

Australia’s Mitchell Starc, Sri Lanka’s Dilruwan Perera and Chris Woakes of England are the other bowlers to make impressive gains in the latest rankings.

Starc took 11 wickets in the Galle Test against Sri Lanka for which he was rewarded with a jump of eight places. This put him in a career-high seventh position, making him the highest-ranked Australia bowler, after Josh Hazlewood slipped three places to 10th.

Perera vaulted 11 places to a career-best 16th position following his 10 wickets in Galle, making him the third Sri Lanka bowler inside the top 20 after Rangana Herath (eighth, up by one place) and Dhammika Prasad (19th, down by one place).

An impressive Woakes continued to march up the rankings. Woakes had started the season in 87th position and has broken into the top 20 in 20th position for the first time. 

In the Edgbaston Test, he took five wickets, which helped him rise three places. Woakes has 39 wickets in 11 Tests, including 31 wickets in five home Tests this season.

In the ranking for Test Batsmen, Australia’s Steve Smith continued to lead the field. England’s Joe Root was second, 16 points behind, while New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was third.

Batsmen to make upward movement following the Edgbaston, Galle, and Jamaica Tests included Alastair Cook to seventh (up by one place), David Warner to ninth (up by one place), Angelo Mathews to 10th (up by three places), Ajinkya Rahane to 11th (up by four places), Jonny Bairstow to 15th (up by one place), Kusal Mendis to 17th (up by four places), Azhar Ali to 18th (up by eight places), BJ Watling and Tom Latham to joint-28th, Moeen Ali to 33rd (up by eight places), Gary Ballance to 36th (up by five places) and Jermaine Blackwood 44th (up by 10 places).

West Indies’ Roston Chase, who scored a match-saving 137 not out against India, rocketed 72 places to share 65th position with Alex Hales of England, while Pakistan opener Sami Aslam, who scored 82 and 70 at Edgbaston, returned to the rankings in 67th position.

In the rankings for Test all-rounders, Moeen Ali achieved a career-high third position following scores of 63 and 86 not out as well as match figures of two for 128. Ashwin is the number-one ranked all-rounder, while Ali’s England team-mate Stuart Broad is fifth after slipping two places.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s 2-0 lead over Australia in the three-Test series has thrown up a number of permutations with Australia, India, Pakistan and England all in with a chance to finish the month as the number-one ranked Test side on the ICC Test Team Rankings.