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Smith surpasses Kohli to occupy second spot in ICC Test rankings
ICC Rankings

Smith surpasses Kohli to occupy second spot in ICC Test rankings

Australia batsman Steve Smith has climbed to the second position after ending his century drought during the drawn Sydney Test against India.

Smith's series of single-digit scores in the first two Tests resulted in a demotion to the third spot with India skipper Virat Kohli staying on number two.

The 31-year-old Aussie smashed 131 and 81 at the SCG to put Australia in a dominant position for a majority of the proceedings, though his spectacular effort ultimately failed to power the hosts over the line.

Smith now boasts 900 rating points, which is 30 clear of the absent Kohli currently back home in India to attend the birth of his first child.

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has bolstered his grip at the top of the ICC Test rankings for batsmen following his remarkable 238 against Pakistan in Christchurch.

Williamson toyed with the Pakistan bowling attack as he top-scored in New Zealand's mammoth total of 659/6 declared. He has bettered his previous best points tally of 915 achieved in December 2018 by four points, marking the most points attained by a player from his country.

The only other New Zealand cricketer to have breached the 900-point mark was the legendary Richard Hadlee, who claimed this feat in bowling in December 1985.

New Zealand's Henry Nicholls broke into the top 10 after his epic 157 against Pakistan as he advanced three spots in the list to slot into No. 9. Similarly, Kyle Jamieson has continued to rocket up the rankings after making his Test debut last year as he clinched the career-best 21st place in the bowlers' rankings.

Pakistan, despite succumbing to a series whitewash, saw Azhar Ali and Mohammad Rizwan make gains in their respective standing. Azhar starred with 93 and 37 and moved seven spots to 18 whereas Rizwan's fifth successive half-century in the first innings of the Christchurch encounter allowed him to vault 10 places to the 37th position.

Among Indian players, Cheteshwar Pujara's twin fifties at the SCG helped him jump from 10th to eighth whereas Rishabh Pant's cracking 97 on the thrilling final day of the third Test assisted him in leaping 19 positions to 26th.