Cricbuzz Staff •
Kane Williamson scored a match-winning hundred in the series decider at Abu Dhabi. © Getty
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson soared in the Test rankings and became the first batsman from his country to breach the 900-points barrier following a stellar performance in UAE that paved for his team’s first away win against an Asian team in 49 years. ICC Hall of Fame inductee Richard Hadlee was the only other player from New Zealand to achieve 900-plus points – going up till 909 on the bowlers’ charts.
Williamson has had a commendable 2018 in Tests, scoring 510 runs in five matches at an average of 63.75. As many as 228 of those came in the last Test of the three-game series in Abu Dhabi that turned out to be the clincher for the visitors. The exceptional batting effort didn’t just take him past a high points-threshold, but also helped him usurp second-placed Steve Smith (901) points – who hasn’t played since the Newlands Test in March.
Williamson’s co-conspirator in the famous Abu Dhabi win, Henry Nicholls, has also jumped up the queue – moving up eight places to break into the top-10 – on the basis of his fine second-innings batting display. Another performer from that Test match – albeit from the losing side – Azhar Ali, also moved up and sits tight at 10th spot. Azhar was one of the two centurions who ensured Pakistan would take a sizeable first-innings lead, which was eventually squandered away in dramatic fashion.
The leader of the batting pack, Virat Kohli, managed just 37 runs across the two innings in Adelaide, thereby dropping 15 points and leading Williamson by a mere seven-point margin that could close down further based on how the rest of the series pans out for the India captain.
While Kohli may have not lit up a venue where’s he’s enjoyed great success on two previous tours, his No.3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara put in two match-defining performances (123 and 71) that went a long way in helping India win the first Test of an away tour in Australia for the the first time. He ascended two places to fourth position, ahead of England’s Test captain Joe Root.
Among the bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah’s match haul of six wickets took him to a career-high ranking of 33. Nathan Lyon, who bowled 70 overs and picked six wickets in Australia’s Adelaide defeat, has consolidated his 14th spot, and is now breathing down the neck of New Zealand fast bowler Neil Wagner at 13th – with the two divided only by eight points.