Cheteshwar Pujara slammed a brilliant 202 to help India save the third Test against Australia at Ranchi    IANS
Cheteshwar Pujara slammed a brilliant 202 to help India save the third Test against Australia at Ranchi IANS

Cheteshwar Pujara has a reason to celebrate as his knock of 202 has helped him gain four slots to reach a career-best second ranking with 861 points. The Saurashtra batsman has replaced New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who is now in fifth place, also slipping behind Joe Root and Virat Kohli, who remained static at fourth position. Top-ranked Australian captain Steven Smith has reached a career-high rating of 941 points after scores of 178 not out and 21. While Ravindra Jadeja has closed in on a major landmark as his tally of 899 rating points has put him on the brink of becoming only the second Indian bowler after Ashwin to touch the 900-point mark. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs Australia 3rd Test at Ranchi

Pujara has scored 1,259 runs in this season and is only behind Gautam Gambhir among the Indian batsman in terms of scoring most runs in a season. Gambhir scored 1,269 in 2008-09. Overall, Pujara is at 4th spot in the list after Ricky Ponting (1,483 in 2005-06), Matthew Hayden (1,287 in 2005-06) and Gambhir. READ: Pujara The warrior who guards Test cricket with dead bat

Ashwin, who had a highest rating of 904 points, has slipped 37 points behind Jadeja to 862 points after finishing with just two wickets in Ranchi. Meanwhile, the race for the second spot in the ICC Test team rankings has become interesting as Australia and South Africa compete ahead of the cut-off date of April 1, on which India is assured of finishing first and getting a cash award of USD 1 million. READ: Rise, Sir Ravindra Jadeja, Earl of Rajkot

Australia will finish second and get a cash award of USD 500,000 with at least a draw in the last Test in Dharamsala while South Africa can finish second if Australia loses with South Africa either winning or drawing the last match against New Zealand in Hamilton. The third-placed team on April 1 will receive USD 200,000 while the fourth-placed team, which will be England, will get USD 100,000.

(With inputs from PTI)