Dubai: India's Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara has reclaimed the No.2 Test spot while skipper Virat Kohli stood static at No.5 in the latest ICC rankings, released here on Tuesday. Pujara, who stroked a brilliant 143 in the second Test against Sri Lanka in the Nagpur Test, leapfrogged England captain Joe Root and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in the batting chart led by Australia skipper Steven Smith.
Smith fired a magnificent unbeaten 141, his 21st century in his 57th Test, which was the cornerstone of Australia's 10-wicket victory over England in the Ashes opener in Brisbane. For Pujara, this is the third time the Saurashtra right-hander has claimed the second rank, having first reached the position after the Ranchi Test against Australia in March, and then again in August, after scoring 133 against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Pujara has been rewarded with 22 points, which have lifted him from fourth to second on a career-high 888 points. On the other hand, Kohli, who struck his fifth Test double-hundred in Nagpur, added 60 points to take his tally to 877 points. India opener Murali Vijay and middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, who were the other centurions in the just-concluded Test, have also made impressive gains. Vijay has risen eight places to 28th position, while Rohit has shot up seven places to 46th spot.
Meanwhile, a flop show in the Nagpur game saw opener Lokesh Rahul down by one spot to No.9, Ajinkya Rahane dropped two spots to 15th while Shikhar Dhawan also went down by a point to be positioned 29th. Among the bowlers, Indian left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja has reclaimed the second spot following his match figures of 5/84, while Australia's Mitchell Starc has returned to the top 10 in 10th position after his match figures of 6/128 helped him gain three places.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who got the fastest 300 wickets in Tests, has consolidated his fourth position by gaining nine points and is now 42 points behind number-one ranked Englishman James Anderson who has dropped five points after claiming two wickets in the Brisbane Test.
Other bowlers to improve their rankings include Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma of India, who have moved up one place each to 28th and 30th respectively, and Pat Cummins of Australia, who has jumped six places to claim 45th position. In the all-rounders' rankings, Ashwin has returned to third place in the list which is headed by Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh. (IANS)