Dubai, March 8:
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on Wednesday became the first pair of spinners to be jointly top-ranked in the International Cricket Council rankings for Test bowlers while a poor outing in the first two Tests against Australia have pulled India skipper Virat Kohli down a rung to third among the batsmen.
Jadeja’s seven wickets in the second Test, which included a crucial 6/63 in the first innings, have helped him move up one rank to reach the top position for the first time in his career. The last time two bowlers shared the top spot was in April 2008 when Dale Steyn and Muttiah Muralitharan were at the top, according to an ICC statement.
Ashwin too played an important role in the match, which India won by 75 runs to level the four-match series 1-1, so as not to concede the top ranking.
The Chennai tweaker’s eight wickets took him past spin legend Bishan Bedi’s tally of 266 wickets and made him the fifth-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests with 269 wickets.
Pacer Umesh Yadav also gained a place to be positioned at a career-best No.29 while Australia’s spin duo of Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe too have moved upwards to be placed at No.16 and No.28 respectively.
On the other hand, after managing just 40 runs in the first two matches, Kohli conceded the second rank to England’s Joe Root, who is now one point ahead at 848 points.
Australia skipper Steve Smith continued to rule the chart for 77 Tests, going past Ricky Ponting’s 76 matches and now has the third longest stint at the top among Australians after Steve Waugh (94) and Don Bradman (93).
India’s middle order star Cheteshwar Pujara’s innings of 17 and 92 have lifted him up five places to No.6 while Ajinkya Rahane has moved up two places to No.15 after scoring 17 and 52 in Bengaluru. Opening batsman Lokesh Rahul has gained 23 places to reach No.23 spot after scores of 90 and 51.
Meanwhile, the list of all-rounders also witnessed a change at the top as Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan moved ahead of Ashwin, who has scored only 20 runs in four innings against Australia so far. Ashwin had overtaken Shakib in December 2015.
In the team rankings, India’s 75-run win in the second Test assured Kohli’s brigade of the No.1 spot on the April 1 cut-off date and a cash prize of $1 million. The fight is now for the second, third and fourth places. (IANS)