Azhar Ali achieves career-best sixth spot in ICC Test rankings

Dubai: Pakistan opener Azhar Ali has moved up ten places to his career-best sixth spot in the latest ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen even as top-ranked Australian skipper Steve Smith has finished the year-end rankings with a personal best in terms of rating points. Azhar’s scores of 205 not out and 43 in the second Test against Australia in Melbourne, which ended on Friday, could not prevent Pakistan from going 2-0 down in the three-match Test series with an innings and 18 runs loss, but was a culmination of some consistent performances this year.

The 31-year-old opener found his way up from 20th rank during a year which saw him become the first Pakistan batsman to slam a double-century in Australia and also the first from his country to 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 attain a creditable 25thposition. His scores of 59 and 117 in a 206 runs win against Sri Lanka in the first Test which ended in Port Elizabeth on Friday, has seen him move up 18 positions from 43rd rank before this match.

Rabada, who finished with 46 wickets in nine Tests this year, has retained his 17th position while Abbott has gained seven positions to reach 21st rank.

Apart from Stephen Cook, the other newcomers to shine with the bat in their first year are Sri Lanka’s Dhananjaya de Silva (31st rank), Australia’s Peter Handscomb and India’s Karun Nair (joint-55th rank) and India all-rounder Jayant Yadav (59thrank).–IANS

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