Steve Smith replaces Virat Kohli as top-ranked Test batsman
Steve Smith (left) and Virat Kohli (AFP Photo)

Australia batsman Steve Smith has replaced Virat Kohli as the top-ranked Test batsman in the latest ICC rankings released on Tuesday after the completion of the second India-West Indies Test in Kingston.

Kohli has slipped to the second spot.

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Smith, who returned to Test cricket in the ongoing Ashes 2019 after serving a year long ball-tampering ban, struck twin centuries in Edgbaston setting up the base for a big Australia win last month. He followed that with a score of 92 at Lord’s – an innings which was halted after he suffered a blow to his neck while dealing with a bouncer from Jofra Archer. He did’t bat in the second innings and missed the following Test at Headingley due to concussion, a match England went on to win by one wicket to draw level at 1-1 in the five-match series.

This has allowed Smith to open up a single-point lead in the rankings announced on Tuesday, 3 September. He has a chance to extend that lead in the fourth Ashes Test, starting Wednesday.

Kohli, on the other hand was leading India in the tour of West Indies where they played two Tests, winning them 2-0. He scored a half-century in each of those Test while managing 9 and a golden duck as well.

Smith has taken his century tally to 25, drawing level with Kohli who hasn’t scored one in the three Tests he has played so far in 2019.

Smith was the top-ranked Test batsman since December 2015 and vacated that spot in August 2018 while serving a ban for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal. Kohli thus overtook him on the charts, after reaching career-high rating points in the series against England.

India’s middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane has returned to the top-10, rising four places to be placed at No.7, after following up his half-century and hundred in Antigua with another fifty in Jamaica.

Hanuma Vihari, who scored his maiden Test century in Kingston, has shot up 40 places to No.30 after just six Tests.