Wellington: New Zealand grabbed the number one position in the ICC Test rankings for the first time in history after decimating Pakistan by an innings and 176 runs in the second Test in Christchurch, on Wednesday.
The comfortable series-clinching victory, shaped by captain Kane Williamson’s double century, pushed the Kiwis to top of the heap as they became the sixth country in the past 10 years to be ranked number one in Test cricket.
‘A huge victory in the second Test has propelled New Zealand to the No.1 spot in the @MRFWorldwide ICC Test Team Rankings,’ the ICC tweeted. Overall, they are the seventh side in the world to hold the number one spot. New Zealand came close to reaching the summit in the last couple of years but stayed second on the table.
They now have 118 points, two more than Australia and four clear of third-placed India. England (106) and South Africa (96) complete the top-five. Williamson consolidated his top spot in the batting list. He had recently leapfrogged India captain Virat Kohli and Australian star Steve Smith with three centuries, including two double centuries, in his last six innings.
The Black Caps are also inching closer to the top two spots in the ICC World Test Championship standings. They are still third with 70 (PCT) percentage points but are narrowing the gap with Australia (76.7) and India (72.2).
Kane Williamson, Player of the Series and New Zealand captain, said, ‘It’s an incredible couple of games. Even though the result on paper was in our favour, but Pakistan is a quality side. We worked hard and got lucky with a few moments. Kyle is a special cricketer. He’s gone a long way to moving this team forward and complementing the bowling attack. Daryl bats higher and bowls a few more overs, but the attitude both of them brought in was great to see. I am sure there are many more hundreds to come Daryl’s way. It was a real battle for a long time. The runs were tough to come by as Pakistan bowled great lines. The openers gave us a great start and Nicholls batted with a calf muscle injury and it was an incredible effort. Really pleasing performance, nice to finish the Test summer on a high’.