Cape Town - South Africa's AB de Villiers and New Zealand's Kane Williamson have moved up spots in the latest ICC player rankings for Test batsmen.
Williamson has earned the rise to third place thanks to two consistent knocks of 88 and 71, helping New Zealand extend their winning streak to 12 home Test victories in a row after beating Sri Lanka by 122 runs at the weekend.
Williamson is just three points off De Villiers, who also moved up one spot to second, while England’s Joe Root remains at the top of the Test batting rankings.
Williamson’s team-mate, Martin Guptill, has jumped up a remarkable 18 places, after scoring 156 and 46 against the Sri Lankans. Guptill was rewarded with only his second man-of-the-match award in Tests.
Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum has moved up two places to 17th, while his Sri Lanka opposite number, Angelo Matthews, has marked the visiting side’s presence in the top 10 batsman rankings, down one place to seventh.
Over in Hobart, Australia skipper Steven Smith tumbled three places to fourth and is now just 11 points ahead of his team-mate David Warner in fifth spot.
But there was better news for Adam Voges who led the charge for Australia with a first innings double-century. The Western Australia batsman remained unbeaten on 269, thus ensuring his side did not need to bat again in the Test. Australia have taken a 1-0 lead in the series after beating the West Indies by an innings and 212 runs.
Voges’ knock has vaulted him 19 places to a career-high 15th place in the latest rankings.
Shaun Marsh supported Voges ably, scoring 182, and together the pair added a sixth-highest all time partnership of 449 runs. In the process, Marsh has risen 17 spots to a career best 37th in the batsman rankings.
West Indies Darren Bravo has been rewarded for being the lone centurion from his side, moving up two spots to 25th.
Meanwhile, in the ICC player rankings for Test Bowlers, Australia’s Josh Hazlewood has entered the top 10, rising up four spots after claiming seven wickets in Australia’s win over the West Indies, while off-spinner Nathan Lyon has moved up two spots into 15th after a three-wicket haul in Hobart.
New Zealand’s Trent Boult grabbed four wickets against Sri Lanka, allowing him to retain sixth place as the top six spots in the bowler rankings remained unchanged.
South Africa’s Dale Steyn maintains pole position which he has done since December 2013, while Rangana Herath’s two wickets were enough to keep him in 10th position. Nuwan Pradeep’s four wickets in the first innings have earned him a six-point rise up the rankings to 53rd.
The all-rounders held steady in the top four positions, Ravindra Jadeja managing to move up a spot and enter the top five club, for a career best fifth place ranking and has South Africa’s Vernon Philander in his sights.
The second and final Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka starts in Hamilton (December 18-22) with the home side aiming to seal the win which would see them overtake England by a decimal point into fifth place on 99 points in the ICC Team Rankings.