Steve Smith closes in on Bradman’s record in ICC Test rankings

Dubai [UAE]: Australian skipper and top-ranked Steve Smith’s phenomenal run has lifted him to new heights in the latest ICC Test Player rankings as he has moved closer towards Don Bradman’s highest-ever ranking points after a match-winning double-century in the third Ashes Test against England in Perth.

The Australia captain’s innings of 239, which helped his team regain the Ashes by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, has seen him reach a tally of 945 points to take joint second position in the all-time list along with Len Hutton.

Smith had reached 941 points after the first Test in Adelaide before dropping briefly to 938 after the Brisbane Test.

Smith, who has gained seven points after his Perth performance to overtake Peter May, Ricky Ponting and Jack Hobbs and to within16 points of Bradman’s tally of 961 points, has had a minimum of 918 points over the past 12 months, which is 25 more than second-placed Virat Kohli’s current total.

His batting average of 62.32 is second only to Bradman in terms of batsmen with at least 20 Test innings and by the time the fourth Test of the series starts on Boxing Day, he would be the number one for two years.

Smith is already ahead of Bradman with regard to the number of Tests at the top. He has now been number one for 114 Tests, which is the fifth-most in a list led by Gary Sobers (189 Tests) and with Viv Richards (179), Lara (140) and Tendulkar (139) the others ahead of him.

Other batsmen to reach career-best rankings after the Perth Test include Dawid Malan of England (up 47 places to a career-best 52nd) after his innings of 140 and 54 in Perth and Mitchell Marsh of Australia (up 44 places to 65th) after his score of 181.

Meanwhile, Jonny Bairstow (up one place to 15th) and Usman Khawaja (up two places to 19th) have also moved up.

In the bowlers’ list led by England’s new-ball bowler James Anderson, Australia pace bowler Josh Hazlewood has gained one slot to move into the top five after finishing with eight wickets in the match. Pat Cummins of Australia (up four places to a career-best 39th) and Craig Overton of England (up seven places to 89th) have also gained in the latest rankings.

Australia, who won the Perth Test by an innings and 41 runs at the WACA to regain the coveted urn, will now play the inconsequential fourth Test against England, beginning December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). (ANI)