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Kane Williamson rises to top of Test rankings

December 21, 2015 17:07 IST
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The New Zealander displaces England’s Joe Root and AB de Villiers of South Africa in the number-one batting spot.

Kane Williamson

IMAGE: New Zealand’s Kane Williamson bats during Day 3 of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Seddon Park, on December 20, 2015 in Hamilton, New Zealand. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Kane Williamson is the second New Zealand batsman after Glenn Turner to top the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen following a man-of-the-match performance in the Hamilton Test against Sri Lanka, which helped the home side win by five wickets and take the series 2-0.

He scored 108 not out, his 13th century in 46 Tests, as New Zealand achieved the 189-run target with five wickets to spare.

Williamson, who also played in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2008, earned 11 points for his efforts, which was enough to put him ahead of England’s Joe Root and AB de Villiers of South Africa in the number-one batting spot.

Turner was at the top for 425 days between 1973 and 1975, but this was before the rankings were officially launched in 1987.

The other highest-ranked New Zealand batsmen are Martin Crowe (third), John F Reid (third), John R Reid (fourth), Bert Sutcliffe (fourth), Mark Richardson (sixth) and John Wright (seventh).

In terms of points, the leading New Zealand batsman ever is Williamson, who achieved 893 points last month. He is followed by Ross Taylor (871 in 2013), Turner (845 in 1974) and Geoff Howarth (804 in 1981).

With the ball, Richard Hadlee was the number-one ranked bowler for 1,824 days between 1984 and 1990, while Jack Cowie topped the bowling chart for 266 days in 1947.

Root and de Villiers, along with Australia’s fourth-ranked Steven Smith and fifth-ranked David Warner, will go into the Boxing Day Tests aiming to finish the year as the number-one ranked Test batsman.

Root and de Villiers trail Williamson by three and eight points, respectively, while Smith is 15 points and Warner 26 points behind the New Zealander.

It was an outstanding year for Williamson. He started the year at No 13, but after scoring 1,172 runs in 16 innings and eight Tests, including five centuries and four half-centuries, he rose to the top.

Sri Lanka’s middle-order batsman Milinda Siriwardana broke into the top 50 for the first time in his career after vaulting 18 places. He is now at No. 48 after scoring 62 and 26 in the Hamilton Test.

In the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, New Zealand’s Tim Southee returned to the top 10 after rising two places to No. 10.

Southee, who won the Player of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2008 award, returned figures of three for 63 and four for 26.

Southee’s team-mate Doug Bracewell moved up four places to 36th after match figures of four for 112, while Sri Lanka’s Dushmantha Chameera achieved a career-best ranking of 50th.

Chameera had figures of five for 47 and four for 68, for which he was rewarded with a jump of 39 places.

The bowling table is headed by South Africa’s Dale Steyn. He leads India’s Ravichandran Ashwin by just four points, which means the fast bowler will have to perform strongly in the Boxing Day Test against England to retain the top spot.

Meanwhile, sixth-ranked New Zealand earned four points for its 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka and, thus, joined England on 99 points on the ICC Test Championship table.

However, New Zealand is ranked below England when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.

Seventh-ranked Sri Lanka, in contrast, conceded four points and slipped to 89, 13 points ahead of eighth-ranked West Indies.

The ICC Test Championship table will now be updated at the end of Australia-West Indies series, while the player rankings will be updated at the conclusion of the Boxing Day Tests.

- Also read: Williamson plays down bevy of records

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