Steven Smith has reclaimed the top spot in the latest ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen which were released following the conclusion of The Oval and P.Sara Oval Tests. The incoming Australia captain started the Ashes series at the top of the rankings on 913 points, but had lost his place to England’s Joe Root after the Trent Bridge Test. However, after scoring 143 in his side’s an innings and 46 runs victory at the The Oval, the 26-year-old has overtaken second-placed AB de Villiers, as well as Root, who has dropped to third following scores of six and 11.
Root had started the series in seventh place on 815 points and has gained 74 points and four places over the course of the series. There was further good news for David Warner who has moved up two places to ninth after scoring 85, while Chris Rogers concluded his career in 10th place (after climbing 13 places since the start of the series) as the second-highest left-handed batsmen in the rankings behind another illustrious retiree Kumar Sangakkara, who finished his career in seventh spot. Sangakkara, who scored 32 and 18 in Sri Lanka’s 278 runs defeat at the P.Sara Oval, first reached number-one in the Test batting rankings in December 2007 against England after innings of 92 and 152 in Kandy.
Sangakkara spent a total of 97 Tests and 812 days as the top-ranked Test batsman in the world and was last number-one in December 2014, before losing the top spot to De Villiers. His highest-ever points tally was 938, achieved on 1 December 2007, and that total is the highest-ever achieved by a Sri Lanka batsman to date and the joint sixth-highest of all-time. Meanwhile, Michael Clarke has finished his 115-Test career in 25th spot.
Clarke surged to the top of the rankings in August 2009 and did so for the last time in February 2013. During this period, he topped the batting rankings on several occasions (totaling 11 Tests and 70 days). Clarke is one of the 30 internationals, including eight Australia batmen, to reach 900 points, which was incidentally his highest points tally that was achieved after the 2012 Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka.
As an Australia captain, the 34-year-old from Sydney led his team to the top of the ICC Test Team Rankings from May 2011 to July 2014. The other big movers in the latest batting rankings are India’s Ajinkya Rahane (up two places to a career-high 20th), Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne (up two to 34th) and England’s Moeen Ali (up two to a career-high 48th), while there were also notable career-high gains for Adam Voges (up 21 to 53rd), and India team-mates Lokesh Rahul (up 30 places to 87th) and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (up 15 places to 100th). In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, Australia’s Mitchell Johnson has climbed two places to sixth after recording match figures of 4/86 in London, while Ravichandran Ashwin’s match tally of 7/118 in Colombo has helped the off-spinner overtake Rangana Herath into eighth place on 769 points, one point behind South Africa’s Vernon Philander.
Arising from the conclusion of the fifth Ashes Test, there were gains for Peter Siddle (up three places to 14th) and Nathan Lyon (up two to 16th), while the highest England movers again were Moeen (up four places to 30th) and Ben Stokes (up one place to a career-high 41st). Mitchell Marsh has rocketed 36 places to a career-high 71st place. Meanwhile, there were career-high gains for Sri Lanka duo of Dhammika Prasad, whose 6/125 in Colombo has helped him move up four places to 25th, while his team-mate Tharindu Kaushal has moved up one place to 59th.
The biggest mover in the bowling rankings, though, was India leg-spinner Amit Mishra whose match haul of 7/72 has helped him move up 42 places to a career-high 39th. Ashwin has also gained ground on Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan in the ICC Player Rankings for Test All-rounders and has reduced the deficit on the leader to 43 points. The deciding third and final Test between Sri Lanka and India starts at Colombo on Friday.
If India wins the series 2-1, it will overtake New Zealand and move into fifth place. However, a Sri Lanka series victory would see it progress to 96 points and overtake India into sixth place. In the event of a 1-1 tied series, Virat Kohli’s side would remain in sixth place, four points clear of Mathews’ men.