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Babar Azam slips in batting rankings after WTC Final

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DUBAI: Pakistan’s all-format captain and star batter Babar Azam saw a dip in his Test batting rankings following the conclusion of the World Test Championship (WTC) Final.

As per the latest Test Batting Rankings update by the International Cricket Council (ICC), Pakistan’s star batter Babar Azam slipped to fifth as Australia’s centurion in the WTC Final Travis Head and Steve Smith moved up.

Scoring 163 across the first two days of the WTC Final against India at The Oval, Head jumped three places to claim the third position with 884 points and strengthened Australia’s stronghold on the Test batting rankings.

Besides Travis Head, Steve Smith also climbed up in the Test batting to seize the second position with 885 rating points at the back of his gritty first innings century.

Despite failing to score big in the WTC Final, Marnus Labuschagne remained at the summit with 903 rating points.

Consequently, Australia now hold the top three spots in the Test batting rankings while Usman Khawaja (9th, 777 rating points) makes it four Australians in the top 10.

Notably, The last time three batters from the same side occupied the top three positions in the Test rankings was in December 1984 when Gordon Greenidge (810), Clive Lloyd (787), and Larry Gomes (773) from West Indies formed the top trio.

Meanwhile, Babar Azam and Kane Williamson were the notable batters to slip in the rankings.

Babar last played a Test in January this year against New Zealand while Blackcaps skipper Kane Williamson, who has been out of the red ball action since March 2023 slipped two places to fourth.

Alex Carey’s exploits (48 and 66*) were also rewarded with a jump of 11 spots, moving to 36th with 592 ranking points. Rohit Sharma (729) and Virat Kohli (700) sit in 12th and 13th respectively after the match.

On the bowling side the most newsworthy move came from Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon, moving up two places in a tie for sixth with England quick Ollie Robinson (777).

Lyon was given little opportunity to bowl in the first innings final after his quick-bowling teammates seized control, though claimed one wicket to help his side to a healthy first-innings lead. The spinner came into his own in India’s second innings, taking 4/41, including the last scalp of Umesh Yadav, for Australia to lift the mace.

Lower down the rankings Scott Boland’s stocks continue to rise, moving up five places to 36th (534), four places ahead of Mohammed Siraj, who claimed 4/108 and 1/80 in the defeat.

Ravichandran Ashwin, in spite of being left out of India’s side for the Final, remains No.1 (860).

READ: ‘My relation with Babar Azam is very good,’ Sarfaraz Ahmed

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