Fluent Williamson dethrones Root as No. 1 Test batsman

Dubai: Kane Williamson topped the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen after producing a man of the match performance in the Hamilton Test against Sri Lanka, which helped the home side win the match by five wickets and the series 2-0.

Williamson scored 108 not out, his 13th century in 46 Tests, as New Zealand achieved the 189-run target with five wickets to spare.

Williamson, who also played in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2008, earned 11 points for his efforts, which was enough to put him ahead of England’s Joe Root and AB de Villiers of South Africa in the number-one batting spot.

Root and de Villiers, along with Australia’s fourth-ranked Steven Smith and fifth-ranked David Warner, will go into the Boxing Day Tests aiming to finish the year as the number-one ranked Test batsman. Root and de Villiers trail Williamson by three and eight points, respectively, while Smith is 15 points and Warner 26 points behind the New Zealander.

It has been an outstanding year for Williamson. He started the year in 13th position, but after scoring 1,172 runs in 16 innings and eight Tests with five centuries and four half-centuries, he has stormed to the top of the tree.

Sri Lanka’s middle-order batsman Milinda Siriwardana has broken into the top 50 for the first time in his career after vaulting 18 places. He is now in 48th position after scoring 62 and 26 in the Hamilton Test.

In the ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, New Zealand’s Tim Southee has returned to the top 10 after rising two places to the 10th position. Southee, who won the Player of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2008 award, returned figures of three for 63 and four for 26.

Southee’s team-mate Doug Bracewell has moved up four places to 36th after match figures of four for 112, while Sri Lanka’s Dushmantha Chameera has achieved a career-best ranking of 50th. Chameera recorded figures of five for 47 and four for 68, for which he has been rewarded with a jump of 39 places.

The bowling table is headed by South Africa’s Dale Steyn. He leads India’s Ravichandran Ashwin by just four points, which means the fast bowler will have to perform strongly in the Boxing Day Test against England to retain the top spot. (ANI)