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Root tops Labuschagne in Test rankings

Joe Root’s irresistible form has ended Marnus Labuschagne’s lengthy reign at the top of cricket’s Test batting rankings.

Australian star Labuschagne rose to the No.1 spot in December last year following knocks of 103 and 51 in the second Ashes Test England in Adelaide.

But Root, who stepped down as England captain in April, has continued piling up the runs and played a key role as England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series against New Zealand this week.

“Root has already scored four centuries this calendar year and become just the second Englishman to score more than 10,000 Test runs and that has seen the 31-year-old jump in front of Labuschagne as the number one-ranked batter in the world,” said the ICC in a statement.

Root has a total of 897 rating points, five points more than Labuschagne in second place.

Australia’s Steve Smith stays third in the latest Test rankings, with Pakistan captain Babar Azam and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson completing the top five.

Root has scored almost twice as many runs as anyone else in men’s Test cricket since turning 30 on December 30th, 2020.

Root’s tally of 2371 runs is more than 1000 clear of the next man on the list – Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne (1216).

Although Root has played the most innings over the period (43), his average of 57.82 is second only to Karunaratne among players to have batted at least 20 times.

Root has scored 10 Test centuries in 43 innings since celebrating his 30th birthday, reaching three figures roughly once in every four times he has walked out to bat.

His remaining 17 centuries were amassed over 177 innings, at a rate of around one in 10.

Before turning 30, the Yorkshireman had never scored more than three hundreds in a calendar year. He scored six in 2021 and has racked up four already in 2022.

His only blip in form came during the Ashes in Australia, where he failed to reach three figures in five Tests as England lost the series 4-0.

For much of his career, Root has vied with fellow prolific run-scorers Smith, Williamson and Virat Kohli for the title of world’s best.

The four batters are of similar age – Root and New Zealand’s Williamson are 31, Australia’s Smith and India’s Kohli are 33.

Thanks to his recent form, the Yorkshireman now has the same number of Test hundreds as Smith and Kohli (27), and three more than Williamson (24).

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