It has taken just three innings for Steve Smith to reaffirm his Test credentials with the Australian batsman leapfrogging Kane Williamson to the second spot in the latest ICC rankings released on Monday.
The 29-year-old is now just nine rating points behind the top-ranked Virat Kohli of India despite spending 12 months out of the international game due to his suspension for ball-tampering.
Smith registered twin tons in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston to mark his return to the format after a one-year absence before scoring a crucial 92 in the first innings of the recently concluded Lord’s Test.
The Aussie was struck on the neck by a viscous Jofra Archer-bouncer during that knock before being withdrawn from the Test due to a concussion but the 378 runs registered by him in the three innings since his return were enough for him to overtake Williamson in the latest ICC rankings.
Williamson was dismissed for a duck and four runs in his two innings at Galle and that performance has seen the New Zealand skipper take a big hit in his rating points.
While Smith has risen from the third to second spot, England skipper Joe Root has dropped down to ninth place (from sixth) after registering scores of 14 and a duck in the Lord’s Test against Australia.
Smith, Kohli and Williamson could all be in action in the coming week in three separate Test clashes around the globe and that is set to add some spice to the race for the No1 spot.
In the bowling department, Australia pacer Pat Cummins has consolidated his grip on the top of the rankings after his match-haul of six wickets at Lord’s. The 914 rating points for Cummins are the highest-ever accumulated by any Australian bowler in history and puts him level with the legendary Glenn McGrath.
England pacer Jofra Archer’s fearsome debut at Lord’s has seem him enter the ICC rankings for the first time at 83rd spot.
ICC Test Rankings for Batsman (Top three)
ICC Test Rankings for Bowlers (Top three)
Jofra Archer dominated the headlines as England drew the rain-affected second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord’s.
The Test debutant’s pace and hostility unsettled Australia and left their talisman Steve Smith with a concussion which threatens to rule him out of this week’s third Test at Headingley.
Here, the PA news agency takes a statistical look at the Lord’s Test.
Archer brings the fire
Archer bowled the fastest recorded over by an England bowler in Test cricket when the 73rd over of Australia’s first innings – his 25th – averaged out at 92.79mph, according to figures posted on Twitter by analytics company CricViz.
That was quicker by 0.24mph than Andrew Flintoff’s previous record, set in the 2009 Ashes Test at Cardiff, and featured two deliveries clocked at 94mph, and the last thudding off Smith’s gloves at 96mph.
Archer followed it up with England’s eighth and ninth-quickest overs in the same chart, at 91.99 and 91.93mph respectively, with the latter featuring the ball which knocked Smith to the deck.
It was all the more remarkable given the late stage of the innings, with a worn ball. Of the other overs on the CricViz chart, bowled by Andrew Flintoff, Steven Finn, Steve Harmison and James Anderson, all were between the 12th and 15th overs bar Harmison’s at Adelaide in 2006 – the 22nd over of Australia’s innings, and only the paceman’s fourth.
Archer averaged 89.8mph in that spell – only Flintoff, Harmison and Finn have topped 90mph in a spell of six overs or more for England – and bowled 16 successive balls over 90mph. The one concern would be his workload – he bowled 44 overs in the match, almost 31 per cent of the 142 faced by Australia.
Smith stands alone as batsmen struggle
That Steve Smith will be a big loss for Australia if not passed fit goes without saying, but it is worth looking at just how dominant he has been in the series.
Smith’s 378 runs in the series are 152 more than his nearest challenger, England opener Rory Burns – indeed, Burns and Ben Stokes are the only pair of batsmen who have combined to outscore him.
Only six batsmen have even passed 100 runs in the series – with Joe Root, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Joe Denly, Cameron Bancroft, David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Tim Paine not among them.
Marnus Labuschagne is more than halfway there after his 59 as Smith’s deputy, but would still have big boots to fill at Headingley.
Stokes lights up Lord’s again
Ben Stokes’ 115 not out in the second innings continued his strong record at Lord’s, where his Test batting average is now almost 13 runs above his career mark.
In seven Tests and 13 innings at HQ, the Durham all-rounder now has two centuries – also making 101 in 2015 against New Zealand, the team he tormented in the recent World Cup final at the same venue.
He has half-centuries against four out of six opponents, with the only exceptions being Pakistan and India – with a curious blot on his Lord’s record courtesy of a pair against the latter in 2014.
His bowling average at Lord’s is almost exactly in line with that across his Test career and includes his best innings figures in the format, six for 22 against the West Indies in 2017.
Fellow Lord’s specialist Chris Woakes took only three wickets in the match but still averages 11.33 at the famous old ground.
Provided by Press Association Sports
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Sharjeel Khan have agreed on a roadmap that will see the batsman reintegrated into top level competitive cricket by the end of the year.
The 30-year-old is currently serving a suspended five-year ban for his role in the spot-fixing scandal which occurred in the 2017 Pakistan Super League and he offered an unconditional apology for his action after his meeting with the PCB on Monday.
“I offer my unconditional apology to the Pakistan Cricket Board, my team-mates, fans and family for the irresponsible conduct that brought embarrassment to everyone. I request for forgiveness and assure I will show more responsibility in my future actions,” Sharjeel said in a statement released by the PCB.
“I remind all cricketers to strictly and religiously follow the PCB Anti-Corruption Code as breaching it will only earn momentary gains but the consequences will be severe and last for rest of the career.
“I have agreed on the future course of action with the PCB, including helping it in its education sessions on anti-corruption.
“I will soon return to club cricket but will not rush into domestic cricket as I have been away for nearly 30 months and need time to reclaim my fitness and form.”
The left-handed batsman will undertake a rehabilitation programme designed by the PCB’s Security and Anti-Corruption Unit which included attending and delivering lectures on the Anti-Corruption Code.
Sharjeel’s rehabilitation will be completed by the end of 2019 following which the opening batsman will return to top level cricket.
“We met Sharjeel today in which he showed remorse and regret for his actions. The PCB never takes pride in penalising its players, but it has a non-negotiable and zero-tolerance approach to matters relating to corruption,” PCB Security and Anti-Corruption Unit director Lt Col (R) Asif Mahmood said.
“I hope this serves as a reminder to all those who think they can get away with violating rules as the PCB is vigilant and committed to eliminate the menace of corruption from the game.”
Shrejeel has so far made one Test, 25 ODI and 15 T20 appearances for Pakistan and finished as the side’s top-scorer in the 2016 ICC World T20 held in India. His last appearance for the Men in Green came in January, 2016 in an ODI against Australia at Adelaide.