Virat Kohli closes the gap with Steve Smith in ICC Test Player Rankings
XtraTime Web Desk: Marnus Labuschagne and Bradley-John Watling have achieved career-best positions in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings with epic knocks that also won them Player of the Match awards this week.
Labuschagne’s score of 185 that helped Australia to victory over Pakistan by an innings and five runs in Brisbane has taken him from 35th to 14th place, while Watling’s 205 in Tauranga not only helped New Zealand beat England by an innings and 65 runs but has also lifted him 12 places to 12th position.
Labuschagne occupied 95th position when summoned as a concussion substitute for Steve Smith in the Lord’s Ashes Test in August and has made rapid progress since then, while Watling too has much to celebrate, as he is now the top-ranked wicketkeeper-batsman, having overtaken South Africa’s Quinton de Kock.
Apart from Labuschagne, the other Australia batsmen to advance in the latest rankings update include opener David Warner (up six places to 17th), Joe Burns (up 11 places to 62nd) and Matthew Wade (up four places to 70th) while fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has moved from 13th to joint-ninth in the bowlers’ list.
Their opposition Pakistan did not have much to cheer about with Shan Masood (up seven places to 57th) among batsmen and Haris Sohail (up 12 places to 81st) among bowlers moving up in the latest update that also takes into account performances in the day-night Kolkata Test in which India defeated Bangladesh by an innings and 46 runs.
Watling is not the only one to gain big from his team as Neil Wagner’s eight-wicket match haul has catapulted him to a career-best third position with a tally of 816 rating points, the third best ever by a New Zealand bowler after Richard Hadlee (909 points) and Trent Boult (825).
England all-rounder Ben Stokes is in the top 10 for batsmen for the first time after scores of 91 and 28 helped him gain three slots, while Joe Denly and Rory Burns have also made notable progress.
India captain Virat Kohli’s commanding century in Kolkata has helped him bridge the gap with top-ranked Steve Smith from 25 to three points while opener Mayank Agarwal has reached the top 10 for the first time.
India fast bowlers Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav are at career-high points tallies after victory over Bangladesh. Ishant has 716 points but is in 17th place, way behind his career-best seventh place achieved in July 2011.
Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim has gained four slots to reach 26th position after scoring a fighting 74 in the second innings of the Kolkata Test while Liton Das is up eight slots to 78th position.