Following his maiden Test ton on English soil, Virat Kohli has notched up another milestone by becoming only the seventh Indian batsman in history to attain the top ICC Test ranking.
In the latest ICC rankings which were released on Sunday, Kohli had leapfrogged banned Australia star Steve Smith to take the No1 spot.
He is the first Indian batsman since the legendary Sachin Tendulkar in 2011 to achieve the top Test ranking for batsmen.
India suffered a 31-run defeat in the opening Test at Edgbaston with Kohli waging almost a lone-battle with the bat in both innings for the visitors.
The India skipper scored 149 in the first innings before following it up with a knock of 51 in the second.
This is the first time Kohli has achieved the No1 ranking in the Test format and it ends Smith’s 32-month reign at the top of the batting charts.
KOHLI IS NO.1@imVkohli has overtaken Steve Smith to become the new No.1 batsman in @MRFWorldwide ICC Test Rankings.— ICC (@ICC) August 5, 2018
He is the first Indian since @sachin_rt to get there.
READ ⬇️https://t.co/Hw7OCimIKw pic.twitter.com/s8h4fNmJYK
Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Dilip Vengsarkar are the other Indian batsmen apart from Kohli and Tendulkar to have attained the top Test ranking.
In climbing to the top of the rankings, Kohli has also surpassed Gavaskar’s highest-ever tally of 916 rating points. The India skipper now has 934 rating points to his name which is the highest ever achieved by an Indian batsman and 14th highest overall in Test history.
The 29-year-old is already the top-ranked ODI batsman currently.
In the bowling department, England’s James Anderson continues to top the charts ahead of South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada with India’s Ravichandran Ashwin remaining stationary in fifth place.
The former Sri Lanka batsman believes Kohli can go on to become India’s greatest batsman of all time and that he will on his way to matching Sachin Tendulkar’s legacy.
“The way he is playing, Virat can well become the greatest ever Indian batsman,” Sangakkara told the Times of India on the sidelines of his commentary stint with Sky Sports.
“In terms of Sachin’s legacy, both in terms of cricket and the way he has dealt with pressure, he is unique. But Virat is well on his way to match that. He is comfortably the best in the world of his generation and with time, he will mature even more,” he added.
Much of the build-up to the five-match series has focused around Kohli’s dismal tour of 2014 where he could only manage to muster 134 runs from 10 innings at a paltry average of 13.40.
The India skipper made amends in some style at Edgbaston with his maiden Test ton in England before going on to score 51 runs in the second innings. In the first innings, Kohli waged a lone battle with the tail for company as he notched up a score of 149 before being the last man dismissed.
Sangakkara is of the opinion that the 29-year-old has the potential to break plenty of his record over the course of his career.
“If he understands himself a bit better and keeps improving his game, he will break quite a few records,” the Sri Lankan stated.
The century at Edgbaston was Kohli’s 22nd in Test cricket in just 67 matches. On Sunday, he became the seventh Indian batsman in history to climb to the top of the ICC Test rankings and the first since Sachin Tendulkar in 2011.
Friday’s dramatic action at Edgbaston reminded us all just why Test cricket is still regarded by many as the pinnacle of the game.
Fourteen wickets went down on the third day of a low-scoring Test, in a match which now hangs well in the balance heading into what is set to be the final day on Saturday.
Alastair Cook – 4: Out on Thursday night, it was a rare duck for England’s all-time leading run-scorer in Test cricket and déjà vu as Ravi Ashwin’s sublime off-spinner with dip did for the 33-year-old. Cook will be disappointed he didn’t make a more convincing strike towards the ball.
Keaton Jennings – 4: Guilty of pressing forward without complete conviction but that is a result of Ashwin’s presence and skill. India’s spin king loves bowling to left-handers and sent Jennings packing.
Joe Root – 5: KL Rahul took an absolute blinder at leg-slip but the England captain should have avoided an obvious trap and played into India’s plans. Went back to a shorter delivery and would have backed himself to do better. Captaincy was excellent in afternoon and evening sessions, rotating the quicks well, to give the hosts a real chance.
Dawid Malan – 3: The batsman’s miserable run with the willow continues as he nicked off again outside off-stump to Sharma’s pace. It was a good ball and credit to the bowler for squaring him up. However, Malan did shell another catch in the field and could be forgiven for wanting the ground to swallow him up.
Jonny Bairstow – 6: Enjoyed a decent day behind the stumps and is a stalwart in this side. Could have done little to keep out an absolute snorter from Sharma which straightened after pitching, with Shikhar Dhawan deserving credit for an excellent catch.
Ben Stokes – 6: Going through a barren run with the bat and it is showing. Seemed to be caught in two minds as to whether to attack or defend against Sharma, and in the end, did neither. Bowled well though and should have a key role to play on what will be the final day on Saturday.
Jos Buttler – 4: A quiet game for England’s No7 and ran into Sharma on the charge. Push nor tentative prod worked as his edge flew through to Karthik, but in fairness, the ball was moving around a great deal during this period.
Adil Rashid – 5: Not just in the side for his leg-spin (he’s bowled just one over in India’s second innings), let’s not forget he can bat and dig in for the fight. But, like a few of those up the order before him, he fell in a hurry, courtesy of Kuldeep Yadav’s pace and was cleaned up by a straight one.
Sam Curran – 9: Star man. What a talent. For someone who is just 20, the all-rounder’s maturity seems like it stretches beyond his years. His vital 63 could still prove to be the biggest turning point in this Test and his threat with the ball makes him a real find, too.
Stuart Broad – 8: A rip-roaring vintage spell first up by the veteran bowler, dismissing both openers with lovely control of swing, seam and pace. England will be desperate for another one of his vintage spells on day four.
James Anderson – 7: Would have secretly been happy to see the ball nip and seam around the way it did, even during the England innings. Bowled with heart and soul but with perhaps little luck as Malan shelled another catch off his bowling. He did get Ashwin late on and his role will be critical on the final day.
Murali Vijay – 4: Had a serious let-off when Malan dropped him in the slip cordon but his reprieve didn’t last long. Delivery from Broad struck him plumb and the opener seemed like he hadn’t of prepared for that much shape back. Hopes of a bright start in the chase were immediately put on the back-burner.
Shikwar Dhawan – 4: A wafty drive outside off-stump wasn’t the best in the circumstances and his edge found Bairstow off Broad. Should have let the fuller ball go.
KL Rahul – 6: Late movement and shape through the Birmingham air was virtually impossible to keep out as the Indian nicked through to Bairstow off Stokes.
Ajinka Rahane – 4: Chased a wide one when a bit more composure would have sufficed, and after a review, an under-edge was found off Curran’s military medium pace. A big breakthrough and blow for the tourists.
Ravi Ashwin – 6: There is no doubt this man can bat but it was a strange choice for Ashwin to enter the fray as nightwatchman so early on. Done by a fuller Anderson ball having earlier claimed two wickets and tormented England with his spin.
Virat Kohli – 7: Would have been extremely disappointed with how England accelerated, much through Curran, and built a lead in which had previously looked out of the question. He lost a bit of control as skipper but looked rock solid for his team at the crease in finishing not out at the close.
Dinesh Karthik – 6: A few scary moments but showed plenty of resolve to see it through to the close and vitally kept Kohli company. Add in the fact, he was on a pair coming in, deserves credit.
Hardik Pandya – N/A: Had little influence on day three, didn’t bowl an over and is still waiting to bat in India’s innings. Resolve will be needed from the all-rounder.
Mohammed Shami – 4: Didn’t quite hit his lengths and a chance was spurned early on off his bowling, but in some cases, you need to create your own luck and it was a bit off an off-day as Ashwin blew away the openers.
Ishant Sharma – 9: A great day for the Indian seamer who really proved what a handful he can be with the ball in hand, particularly when he is in the midst of a magic spell. One of the best five-fors you will see as he dismantled England’s powerful middle-order.
Umesh Yadav – 8: Bagged a couple of wickets and bowled with greater cutting edge than Shami, proving his worth to the Men in Blue. Like a few others in the tail-end, could have a part to play with the bat.