Virat Kohli ousts Steve Smith from top of Test batting rankings as David Warner returns to top five

By Sports Desk December 04, 2019

Virat Kohli has returned to the top of the batting list in the ICC Test Player Rankings ahead of Steve Smith, whose Australia team-mate David Warner is back in the first five.

Smith struggled for form in Australia's dominant series win over Pakistan and, having scored only 36 runs in the second Test in Adelaide, saw his points drop from 931 to 923.

Conversely, India skipper Kohli scored 136 in the day-night Test against Bangladesh and returned to the summit on 928 points.

Warner rose an impressive 12 places to fifth after making a sensational 335 against Pakistan, while fellow Aussie Marnus Labuschagne makes the top 10 for the first time in his career.

England captain Joe Root is back in the top 10 having slipped out last week. He climbs to seventh after a sublime 226 versus New Zealand in the drawn second Test.

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    Mohammad Naim top scored with 43 and Tamim Iqbal struck 39 on his comeback outing to become his country's leading T20I run-scorer, but the Tigers could only post 141-5 Lahore after Mahmudullah won the toss in Lahore on Friday.

    Babar Azam fell for a duck in reply, but all-rounder Shoaib ​– back in the side along with fellow veteran Mohammad Hafeez ​– made 58 not out as top-ranked Pakistan got home with three balls to spare.

    Ahsan Ali also made 36 on his Pakistan debut in the first of three T20Is, Shafiul Islam's impressive figures of 2-27 proving to be in vain.

    Tamim and Naim laid the foundations with an opening stand of 71, but Bangladesh failed to build on that after the former was run out going for a second.

    Liton Das was dismissed in the same fashion and Naim was following him from the next ball, caught behind off Shadab Khan, before Afif Hossain became Haris Rauf's first international victim.

    Mahmudullah made an unbeaten 19 and Bangladesh had a spring in their steps when Babar nicked Shafiul behind second ball.

    Hafeez followed for 17 and Pakistan were 81-3 in the 12th over when Ahsan departed, but Shoaib ​– playing his first T20I for 11 months – used his experience to keep them on course for a 1-0 lead.

    Shoaib had his half-century when he was dropped at long-off and the ball crossed the rope, while Soumya Sarkar came back for a second run when he was also put down in the final over as Pakistan claimed a first win in the shortest format since last February.

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    Chris Woakes replaces Dom Bess in the only change to the England side after Jofra Archer was ruled out and Beuran Hendricks makes his South Africa Test debut in the final match of the series at the Wanderers.

    Archer was pushing for a return in Johannesburg, but the paceman was troubled by his right elbow in the warm-up after the start was delayed due to rain on Friday.

    The quick missed the tourists' victories at Newlands and St George's Park due to an elbow injury and will play no part as Joe Root's side, leading 2-1, attempt to complete a series win.

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    South Africa: Malan, Elgar, van der Dussen, du Plessis (captain), de Kock (wk) Bavuma, Pretorius, Philander, Nortje, Paterson, Hendricks.

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    South Africa are 2-1 down heading into the fourth and final contest in Johannesburg, with Du Plessis having already been replaced as ODI captain by Quinton de Kock ahead of the one-day and Twenty20 matches against 50-over world champions England.

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    "I know there has been a lot spoken about all the other things and too much noise away from Test cricket and the Test team. I would like to speak about what is in front of us.

    "This is about this Test match for me. I have not changed communication to you guys in one instant.

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    "When you are deep in the series already, the extra time in the nets is not going to make that much difference," Du Plessis said.

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