Marnus Labuschagne achieves career-best No. 4 spot in year-end Test rankings

A career-best fourth position for Marnus Labuschagne and a move up to No. 10 for Quinton de Kock were the headlines of the year-end ICC rankings for men’s batting in Test cricket. India captain Virat Kohli stayed on top of the list – for 274 days in 2019 – with second-placed Steven Smith, who was the No. 1 batsman for 91 days earlier in the year, behind him.

Labuschagne’s scores of 63 and 19 in Australia’s 247-run win against New Zealand in Melbourne pushed him up by one slot from No. 5. He began the year ranked 110th, with only two Tests against his name, but was prolific in his 11 outings in the format since, making 1104 runs in 17 innings at an average of 64.94.

Wicketkeeper-batsman de Kock, meanwhile, advanced eighth places to get in the top ten following his Player-of-the-Match contribution, with scores of 95 and 34, in South Africa’s 107-run victory in the series-opener against England in Centurion.

Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins retained his spot atop the bowler’s rankings in Tests following his first-innings five-wicket haul in Melbourne. He has occupied the top position for 322 days this year, while South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada, who was No. 1 for 44 days after starting 2019 in top position, finished the year at No. 3.

Replacing Rabada in the second spot was New Zealand quick Neil Wagner, who climbed one position on the back of his seven-wicket match haul in Melbourne. The retiring Vernon Philander advanced three positions up to No. 5 to complete the top five on the bowlers’ rankings alongside the fourth-placed Jason Holder, who continued to lead the allrounders’ rankings in Tests. Save for the fifth-placed R Ashwin, who climbed up one spot, the top five allrounders in Tests – Ravindra Jadeja, Ben Stokes and Philander the others – retained their spots.

As far as team rankings for the World Test Championship (WTC) go, Australia consolidated their position in second place of the points table. They added 40 points from their win in Melbourne to take their tally to 256 points from nine games. Top-placed India are 104 points clear of Australia while South Africa collected 30 points after their first win in the WTC and trail New Zealand and England, who occupied the fifth and sixth positions with 60 and 56 points respectively.

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