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Jadeja joins Ashwin at the top of the bowlers’ rankings

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R Ashwin and R Jadeja (Image Credit:Daily Excelsior)

Kolkata: There’s a famous saying that goes like this, “What you sow is what you reap.” And perhaps Ravindra Jadeja’s performance with the ball in the second Test in Bengaluru against Australia, quite aptly matches this line. After he sowed the seeds of a famous come-from-behind victory for India in the first innings, he very rightly reaped his reward as per an ICC media release, which saw him join his spin partner Ravichandran Ashwin at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers.

Jadeja put on a stellar show with the ball in the first innings in Bengaluru as his six wickets kept the Australians in check so that they did not run away with a big lead after India could only muster 189 runs in their first innings. With this match-winning effort of his, it is for the very first time in his five-year test career that he has reached the top of the bowlers’ rankings.

Also, it is for the first time in the history of cricket that two spinners have shared the top position in the bowlers rankings. The last time the top spot was shared by two bowlers was way back in 2008 when South African Dale Steyn had occupied the spot along with Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralidharan.

Ashwin on his part was absolutely instrumental with the ball as he justified his position as the top ranked bowler after he spun a web around the Australian batting in the fourth innings and ended up with eight wickets in Bengaluru. He also recorded his 25th five-wicket haul in Test match cricket in the process and became the fifth highest wicket taker for India in Tests with a tally of 269 wickets, going past legendary Indian off-spinner Bishan Bedi’s tally of 266 wickets. Ashwin however ended up conceding his top spot in the ICC Test rankings for all-rounders to Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan after he put up a poor display with the bat in the series so far scoring only 20 runs.

Australian offie Nathan Lyon, who was the wrecker-in-chief of the Indian batting in the first innings ended up with eight wickets in the match as a result of which he rose two places to the 16th in the bowlers rankings. Steve O’Keefe, also gained one place to reach to the 28th position and Indian paceman Umesh Yadav, who chipped in with crucial wickets en route to India’s stunning victory also gained one spot to reach to the 29th position in the list.

Australian skipper Steven Smith however cemented his stay at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, as he has been an occupant of the position for 77 test matches, surpassing former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting’s record of 76 matches. Smiths’ stint of 77 matches at the top of the batting rankings is only third among the Australians after Steve Waugh’s 94 matches and Don Bradman’s 93 matches.

Virat Kohli ended up losing his second spot in the batting rankings to newly appointed English Test skipper Joe Root. Kohli with 847 points now trails Root by just a solitary rating point.

There were gainers from the Indian batting order as well in the form of Cheteshwar Pujara whose scores of 17 in the first innings and a responsible 92 in the second innings in Bengaluru, lifted him six places to the sixth position in the batting rankings. Ajinkya Rahane too gained two places to the 15th position after his scores of 17 and 52. The biggest gainer of them all was opener KL Rahul who has been India’s best batsman in this series so far. He played crucial knocks of 90 in the first innings and 51 in the second innings in the second Test against Australia which not only earned him the Man of the Match award but also helped him move up a whopping 23 places to reach to the 23rd position in the rankings.