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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Skipper Karunaratne enters top five in the world – The Morning

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  • A positive amidst a host of negatives 

As Sri Lanka has plummeted to unprecedented lows in her overall cricket standards, through the last seven, eight years, the country’s Test Captain Dimuth Karunaratne provided rare positive news for the local cricket fans by breaking into the top five of the world’s Test batting rankings yesterday (16).

In the International Cricket Council (ICC) batting charts released yesterday, Karunaratne had jumped up to his career best – No. 5 – after his fighting knock of 107 in the second innings of the second Test against India, which ended under three days in Bangalore on Monday (14).

Fourteenth Test ton

In Sri Lanka’s second innings, in pursuit of an improbable target of 447 to win the Test and square the two-match series in Bengaluru, Karunaratne made his 14th Test century on a crumbling, spin-friendly track staying at the crease for 228 minutes and 174 balls, hammering 15 fours.

He was the seventh man to get dismissed in the Sri Lankan second innings as they folded to 208 all out in 59.3 overs to suffer second straight defeat of the series, by 238 runs, on both occasions before even four days into the Test.

Sri Lanka lost the first Test in Mohali by an innings and 222 runs last Sunday (6).

Kohli falls from fifth to ninth spot

The 33-year-old has now played in 76 Tests, scoring 5,620 runs, which include 27 fifties and a highest score of 244, against Bangladesh in April last year in Pallekele.  

Meanwhile, former India Captain Virat Kohli has slipped from fifth to the ninth spot in the most recent Test batters’ lists with Pakistan Skipper Babar Azam advancing to the No. 8 spot.

The table is led by Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne, followed by England’s Joe Root, Labuchagne’s compatriot Steve Smith, and New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson, respectively.

Bowling charts led by Bumrah

Indian quick bowler Jasprit Bumrah too has made significant gains in the latest MRF Tyres-sponsored Test rankings, following his brilliance in the series against Sri Lanka.

Bumrah, who bagged eight wickets, including his maiden Test five-for at home in the second Test in Bengaluru, jumped up six places to attain fourth spot for the bowlers.

In doing so, the Indian speedster leapfrogged Shaheen Afridi, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, James Anderson, Neil Wagner, and Josh Hazlewood in the table.

Lasith, Praveen up by five places

Mohammed Shami climbed up a spot to displace fellow countryman Ravindra Jadeja to 17th, while Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama jumped up five positions, each to the 32nd and 45th slots, respectively. Pat Cummins, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Kagiso Rabada have retained the top three spots.

Nkrumah Bonner and Shreyas Iyer took giant leaps, advancing a staggering 22 and 40 spots, respectively to the 22nd and 37th positions.

Holder re-enters all-rounders’ top spot

While Bonner scored 123 and gritty, unbeaten 38 in the first drawn Test against England in Antigua last week, Iyer was rewarded for his match-winning 92 and 67 against Sri Lanka. Zak Crawley’s 121 in the second innings against West Indies saw him jump 13 spots to 49th.

In the all-rounders’ table, Jason Holder has reclaimed the top spot, replacing Jadeja, who had risen to No. 1 after his 175 not-out and nine wickets in the Mohali Test earlier this month. Ashwin, Shakib Al Hasan, and Ben Stokes round off the top five.

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