Kohli back at No 1 in Test rank­ings

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Mum­bai, In­dia - The baton of No 1 Test bats­man in the world has changed hands be­tween Vi­rat Kohli and Steven Smith again, with Kohli sur­pass­ing Smith fol­low­ing a cen­tury in his team's in­au­gu­ral day-night Test, against Bangladesh in Kolkata.

While Kohli led the In­dian bat­ting ef­fort, Smith failed to go past 36 in Aus­tralia's home Tests against Pak­istan, re­sult­ing in the swap at the top.

The good news for Aus­tralia, though, is that David Warner and Mar­nus Labuschagn­e, who were in red-hot form against Pak­istan, moved up to No 5 and No 8 re­spec­tively. Warner com­piled the sec­ond high­est in­di­vid­ual score for Aus­tralia in Test cricket, go­ing past the 334-run mark of Don­ald Brad­man and Mark Taylor in Ade­laide, fin­ish­ing on 335 not out as Aus­tralia de­clared its only in­nings.

Only fel­low opener Matthew Hay­den has a higher mark for Aus­tralia: 380, against Zim­babwe in 2003.

Warner's mam­moth in­nings fol­lowed a knock of 154 in the first Test of the se­ries, in Bris­bane, re­sult­ing in him jump­ing 12 places up the rank­ings over­all.

Labuschagn­e, mean­while, was ranked as low as 110 at the start of 2019. His year took a dra­matic turn when he be­came Test cricket's first con­cus­sion sub dur­ing the Lord's Test of the Ashes se­ries, slot­ting into the game in place of Smith - who had taken a blow to the hel­met from Jofra Archer - and go­ing on to score a match-sav­ing, last-day 59.

That won him a place in the XI even when Smith re­turned, and he pro­duced scores of 74, 80, 67, 11, 48 and 14 through the rest of the Ashes.

His best was yet to come, though. In the home Tests against Pak­istan, both in­nings vic­to­ries, Labuschagn­e scored 185 and 162, com­plet­ing a sen­sa­tional charge into Test cricket's top-ten bats­men.

The Smith vs Kohli race to No 1 has been in over­drive ever since the for­mer re­turned from his ball-tam­per­ing ban in mid-2019 and went on to have a stun­ning Ashes cam­paign.

Smith had top­pled Kohli dur­ing that se­ries, in Septem­ber, be­fore Kohli scored a dou­ble­hun­dred against South Africa to re­turn to within one rat­ing point of Smith. Now, as things stand, Kohli is five rat­ing points clear of Smith.

Smith will have the chance to over­take him once again when Aus­tralia takes on New Zealand at home from De­cem­ber 12. In­dia do not play Test cricket again till it tours New Zealand early next year.

Among oth­ers to gain in the lat­est up­dates were Babar Azam, the Pak­istan bats­man who hit 97 in the first in­nings of the Ade­laide Test to move up two places to No 13, while Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root re­turned to the top ten af­ter a week out­side it fol­low­ing his in­nings of 226. That helped him move up from No 11 to No 7.

Vi­rat Kohli

David Warner (right) and Mar­nus Labuschagn­e

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