Smith returns to top spot in the world batting rankings

Steve Smith has reclaimed top spot in the world batting rankings after his performances in the current Ashes series.

Former Australia captain Smith, 30, has replaced India’s Virat Kohli as number one in the International Cricket Council’s Test batting list announced on Tuesday.

Smith has a chance to cement his place at the top in the fourth Ashes Test, which starts at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

India skipper Kohli dropped to number two in the rankings after his first-ball duck during his side’s 257-run win against the West Indies in the second Test in Jamaica.

Smith, who will return to spearhead Australia at Old Trafford after missing the third Test at Headingley due to the effects of concussion, made back-to-back centuries in the first Test and 92 in the second.

He had sat out Australia’s third Ashes Test defeat at Headingley after suffering concussion when he was struck by a vicious bouncer from Jofra Archer at Lord’s.

Smith first climbed top of the ICC batting rankings in December 2015 and stayed there until August 2018 when he was passed by Kohli during his 12-month ban from cricket for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

On his return to Test cricket last month, the right-hander made 144 in his first innings against England in the first Test at Edgbaston and 142 in his second.

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