Dubai: Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara jumped a couple of rungs to second, while skipper Virat Kohli held on to the fifth spot in the latest ICC rankings for Test batsmen, issued on Tuesday. Pujara trails Australian captain Steve Smith, who has extended his lead at the top, but the next four batsmen are separated by just 11 points in the latest rankings, the ICC said in a statement.
Pujara has returned to number-two ranking after scoring 143 in his side’s huge victory by an innings and 239 runs against Sri Lanka in Nagpur. He had first peaked to second following the Ranchi Test against Australia in March, while the last time he was second was following his 133 against Sri Lanka in Colombo in August.
Pujara has been rewarded with 22 points, lifting him from fourth to second on a career-high 888 points. The 29-year-old now leads his fifth-ranked captain Kohli by 11 points. Kohli has vaulted from 817 points to 877 points after scoring his fifth career double-century in 62 Tests.
Smith, on the other hand, stroked an unbeaten 141, his 21st century in his 57th Test, which was the cornerstone of Australia’s 10-wicket victory over England in the first Ashes Test.
For his performance, Smith has gained five points to rise to 941 points, making him joint-fifth in terms of the highest points tally in batting history in Tests behind Sir Don Bradman (961), Len Hutton (945), Jack Hobbs (942) and Ricky Ponting (942), and at par with Peter May (941).
England captain Joe Root is sitting third and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is occupying the fourth spot, while sixth-ranked David Warner of Australia is another 51 points behind Kohli.
India opener Murali Vijay and middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, who were the other centurions in the just-concluded Test, have also made impressive gains.
Vijay has risen eight places to 28th position, while Rohit has shot up seven places to 46th spot. Some of the leading batsmen heading in the wrong direction include K.L. Rahul (ninth, down by one), Ajinkya Rahane (15th, down by two), Dimuth Karunaratne (18th, down by one), and Shikhar Dhawan (29th, down by one).
In the bowlers’ rankings, Ravindra Jadeja has reclaimed the second position following his match figures of five for 84, while Mitchell Starc has returned to the top 10 in 10th position after his match figures of six for 128 helped him to gain three places.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who became the fastest man to 300 wickets in Tests, has consolidated his fourth position by gaining nine points, which helped him to be on 849 points. The India off-spinner is now 42 points behind number-one ranked James Anderson, who has dropped five points after claiming two wickets in the Brisbane Test.
Other bowlers to improve their rankings include Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma, who have moved up one place each to 28th and 30th respectively. In the all-rounders’ rankings, Ashwin has returned to third place in the list which is headed by Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh.