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Steven Smith returns to the top of the ICC Test batting rankings

Takes over from Kane Williamson, who dropped five ranking points after missing the second Test against England

Steven Smith plays through the off side, Australia vs India, 4th Test, Brisbane, January 15, 2021

Steven Smith's last Test was against India in January  •  Getty Images and Cricket Australia

Australia batter Steven Smith has returned to the top of the Test batting rankings for the first time since the Boxing Day Test last year.
Despite not having played a Test since January this year, Smith took over from Kane Williamson, who dropped five ranking points. Williamson scored 14 runs in the first Test against England at Lord's before missing the second Test because of a persistent elbow injury. Williamson, now on 886 ranking points, is second in the rankings.
Smith has now been at the top of the batting rankings for 167 Tests, according to an ICC statement, behind only Garry Sobers and Viv Richards, who were No. 1 for 189 and 179 Tests respectively.
South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada also gained two spots to move to seventh in the bowling rankings after a five-wicket haul in the second innings against West Indies in St Lucia in the first Test. Anrich Nortje's seven-wicket match haul carried him into the top 30 for the first time in his career, while Quinton de Kock moved to 12th in the batting rankings, a position shared with Cheteshwar Pujara, after he was named player of the match for his unbeaten 141 in Gros Islet.
England's Test captain Joe Root dropped one spot, to fifth, after the series against New Zealand in which he scored just 97 runs in four innings. Root has still been England's most prolific run-scorer in the last year, having totalled 1115 runs at an average of 50.68, close to double the next highest run-scorer, Dom Sibley (623 runs).