Cheteshwar Pujara, who smashed 123 and 71 in the Adelaide Test against Australia to help India register a thrilling 31-run win, has been rewarded in the latest ICC Test rankings for batsmen as he moved to number four in the list. Pujara’s sensational knocks on a difficult wicket in Adelaide laid the base for India’s win in the first Test, their sixth Down Under but first time ever during the first game of a series. Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team skipper, leads the list for batsmen with 920 points. There was another major change in the top five, with New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson zooming to the second spot after his wonderful show in Abu Dhabi.
Williamson’s brilliant 89 and 139 helped New Zealand win the Abu Dhabi Test by 123 runs and help the Kiwis register their first win over Pakistan in their ‘home’ series after a gap of 49 years. New Zealand won the series 2-1 and Williamson’s effort helped him reach 913 points, seven behind Kohli. However, Williamson became the first New Zealand player to breach the 900-point mark in ICC rankings.
In the Adelaide win, Kohli acknowledged that Pujara was the difference between both the sides. "Pujara and Rahane, temperament wise and mindset, they are proper Test batsmen. Pujara was the difference. Rahane batted fearlessly and that is his template. He has confidence in his own space. We took a different approach in the second innings as we wanted to make Australia stay on the field longer. We learnt a lot from the first innings,” Kohli said.
However, Kohli has stressed India need to ride the momentum of the victory. "We need to build on this. We can't be happy with just one Test win. We are happy with this win but we must capitalize,” Kohli said. The second Test of the series will be played at the New Perth stadium on December 14.
Williamson's side, on the other hand, gear up for a series against Sri Lanka starting in mid-December.