Smith loses mantle as world’s top Test batsman to Kohli

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Virat Kohli crafted 136 jn his last Test innings against Bangladesh

… David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne move into the top 10

AUSTRALIA’S Steve Smith has relinquished his crown as the world’s No.1 Test batsman with India maestro Virat Kohli taking the mantle.

Smith had a rare quiet series against Pakistan, with top-order batsmen David Warner (489 runs) and Marnus Labuschagne (347) dominant as Australia powered to a series clean-sweep.

Smith made four in Brisbane and 36 in Adelaide, arriving at the crease with Australia in a strong position and searching for quick runs.

Australia cruised to an innings victory in both Tests, with Smith losing eight points (moving from 931 to 923), leaving him five points astern of India’s skipper.

Smith previously held the top ranking from December 2015 to August 2018 but lost the title to Kohli while he was on the sidelines serving his 12-month suspension from international cricket.

He regained No.1 spot on the back of his prolific series with the bat in the Ashes, during which he hammered 774 runs in four Tests at an extraordinary 110.57.

Kohli crafted 136 in his last Test innings against Bangladesh last month and also hit an unbeaten 254 against South in October.

Warner and Labuschagne lifted their rankings after combining for four centuries against Pakistan’s inexperienced bowling attack, giving Australia three batsmen in the top 10.

Warner rebounded from a poor Ashes series with scores of 154 at the Gabba and 335 not out at Adelaide Oval, claiming player-of-the-series honours.

The left-hander averaged a remarkable 489 across the two Tests as he moved from 17th to fifth on the ICC Test rankings.

Labuschagne continues to rocket up the rankings after posting his first two Test centuries, his contributions of 185 and 162 helping him nail down the vital No.3 position and move to eighth position.

Labuschagne sat in 95th spot when summoned as a concussion substitute for Smith in the Lord’s Ashes Test in August.

He finished that series against England as Australia’s second-highest run-scorer – behind Smith – with 353 runs at 50.42.

Pat Cummins retained his position atop the Test bowling rankings after returning eight wickets against Pakistan.

Josh Hazlewood moved from ninth to eighth after collecting 10 wickets at 22 apiece.

Mitchell Starc, the leading wicket-taker in the series with 14 at 17, improved his ranking from 18th to 14th.

Nathan Lyon also moved up, gaining one position to sit in 21st spot ahead of Australia’s three-match series against New Zealand, starting on December 12.