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Babar Azam's stellar run lands him in top 10 of Test rankings
ICC Test Rankings

Babar Azam's stellar run lands him in top 10 of Test rankings

Babar Azam has climbed four spots to reach the top 10 in the ICC Test rankings for batsmen for the first time in his career.

Babar, Pakistan's premier all-formats batsman, occupies the ninth slot in the rankings update following his emphatic ton against Sri Lanka on the final day of the historic Rawalpindi Test.

The elegant shot-maker feasted on a lackadaisical bowling display from Sri Lanka to bring up his third Test century off just 118 balls amidst a contest headed for a drab draw.

His major gains in the latest rankings signal his prolific run in the longer format, having been his side's leading run-getter in the recent two-Test series in Australia.

Babar, who averages 57 across five Tests this year, is the only batsman besides India skipper Virat Kohli to be present in the top 10 among batters in all three forms of the game.

Marnus Labuschagne has waltzed his way to the top five following outstanding contributions of 143 and 50 in Australia's commandeering 296-run win over New Zealand in Perth's day-night Test.

Labuschagne has wrestled the fifth spot from teammate David Warner, who had made giant leaps in the rankings after his epic triple century against Pakistan.

The gap between the top two batters - Kohli and Steve Smith - has continued to grow with Smith facing an uncharacteristic dismal run in Test cricket lately.

He racked up scores of 43 and 16 in the two innings against New Zealand, prolonging his lean run to three Tests without a half-century.

In the bowlers' table, Mitchell Starc has achieved a career-best fifth position after his match haul of nine for 97.

The effect of Starc's fearsome speed and nagging lines was compounded by the challenge of playing under lights against the pink ball as the Black Caps batsmen abysmally flopped.

His counterpart, Tim Southee, also wreaked havoc with the ball and has reentered the top 10 with nine wickets across the two innings.

Neil Wagner's bumper barrage and Josh Hazlewood's skillful pace bowling have earned both players a promotion of one spot to sit at No. 3 and No. 7 respectively.