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Ashwin ends stellar year as top-ranked Test bowler

Dubai : Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has finished a spectacular year on a high note, achieving the number-one spot for first time in his career in the latest ICC Test rankings on Thursday.

Ashwin has become the first India bowler since Bishen Bedi in 1973 to achieve the milestone, finishing 2015 as the most successful bowler with 62 wickets in nine Tests, and this is reflected in his ranking after he started the year in 15th position and slowly but surely moved to the top of the chart.

Dale Steyn had started the Durban Test leading Ashwin by four points and now trails the India off-spinner by the same margin.

Ashwin said, “Finishing the year as the number-one ranked Test bowler is like an icing on the cake that I have managed to build over the past last 12 months. I always wanted to get there one day. “There can’t be a better way to finish the 2015.

“Replicating what Mr Bedi did is something I am very proud of. The former India captain was a master at his craft and I am very humbled to follow in his footsteps.”

Meanwhile, Australia captain Steve Smith leapfrogged Kane Williamson of New Zealand, England’s Joe Root and AB de Villiers of South Africa into the top spot with unbeaten knocks of 134 and 70 in Melbourne.

Smith, who was also named in the ICC Test and ODI Teams of the Year, is the third Australia batsman in the last decade after Ricky Ponting (2005 and 2006) and Michael Clarke (2012) to finish the year as the number-one ranked batsman.

Ashwin, for the second time in three years, also finished as the number-one ranked Test all-rounder. (ANI)