Super Smith tops the ICC rankings
Australia captain ends 2016 with a personal-best rating after hammering 1000 runs for a third consecutive year
31 December 2016, 07:50 PM AEST
Australia captain Steve Smith has finished 2016 as the officially No.1-ranked batsman after another prolific year.
Smith was the world’s sixth-highest run-scorer in Tests, finishing with 1079 runs from 18 innings at 71.93, and sits atop the International Cricket Council’s Test batsman rankings.
He also hammered four centuries and five half-centuries to finish the year with a personal-best in terms of rating points, with his 165 not out in the second Commonwealth Bank Test against Pakistan – a knock which earned him the man of the match award – lifting his rating to 937.
Smith finished with more than 1000 runs for a third consecutive year and boasts a Test average of 60.63 from 49 matches.
The 27-year-old has also scored nine centuries in 19 matches since becoming Australia’s captain in 2014, underlining his status as one of the greats of the modern era.
Smith has endured a difficult period in charge, with Australia ushering in a new era after being thumped by South Africa in the second Test in Hobart last month.
Australia have since won three consecutive Tests and sit second on the world rankings.
"That's my job; I want to lead from the front with my performances," Smith said after his MCG century against Pakistan.
"First and foremost, I'm a batsman in the team and that's my job to score runs.
"We've been through some tough times and some losses, but now we've won five games straight as an Australian team and it's been nice to have contributed in those games as well."
Smith’s teammates David Warner and Usman Khawaja have also benefited from their strong performances.
Warner has moved to fifth spot on the rankings after smacking 144 against Pakistan, while Khawaja moved up five places to a career-best position of 13th on the back of his knock of 97.
Given Khawaja started the year ranked 31st, his rise underlines his status as a key plank in Australia’s Test future.
In-form Pakistan opener Azhar Ali has moved up 10 places to a career-best spot on sixth after his double-century in Melbourne.
Azhar contributed 215 not out and 43 in Pakistan’s innings and 18-run defeat, becoming the first batsman from his country to hit a double-ton in Australia and notch two scores of more than 200 in a calendar year.
South Africa opener Stephen Cook’s three centuries in his first year of Test cricket have helped him lift his ranking to 25th.
His scores of 59 and 117 in a 206-run triumph against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Port Elizabeth catapulted him up the rankings from 43rd spot.
India spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have finished the year in the top two positions in the Test bowling rankings.
South Africa pacemen Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott finished with career-high placings after taking four and five wickets, respectively, against Sri Lanka.
Rabada, who finished with 46 wickets in nine Tests this year and showed his wares during South Africa’s 2-1 series victory over Australia, has retained 17th position, while Abbott gained seven spots to finish in 21st position.
Apart from Cook, the other newcomers to shine with the bat in their first year were Sri Lanka’s Dhananjaya de Silva (ranked 31st), Australia’s Peter Handscomb and India’s Karun Nair (ranked joint-55th) and India allrounder Jayant Yadav (ranked 59th).
Bangladesh spinner Mehdi Hassan (ranked 34th) and New Zealand fast bowler Colin de Grandhomme (ranked 51st) produced a fine maiden year with the ball in Test cricket.
There was no change among the top five in the list of allrounders after the latest two Tests, with Ashwin leading the way.
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