New Zealand's Williamson overtakes Smith, Kohli as top Test batsman

Kane Williamson leaped from third to first after his player-of-the-match effort leading the Black Caps to a 101-run victory over Pakistan this week.

FILE: New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson celebrates reaching his double century during the second day of the first Test cricket match between New Zealand and West Indies in Hamilton on 4 December 2020. Picture: AFP

CHRISTCHURCH - New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has overtaken Australia's Steve Smith and India captain Virat Kohli to be the number one Test batsman in the world in the latest ICC rankings released Thursday.

Williamson leaped from third to first after his player-of-the-match effort leading the Black Caps to a 101-run victory over Pakistan this week, scoring 129 in the first innings and a rapid 21 in the second when New Zealand were building a lead before declaring.

The New Zealand skipper described it as "humbling" to overtake Smith, who held the top spot for 313 days this year, and Kohli, who was number one for 51 days.

Smith slipped to third in the rankings behind Kohli following scores of nought and eight in Australia's second Test against India while Kohli was on paternity leave.

"They are incredible players of our generation," Williamson said as he arrived in Christchurch ahead of the second Pakistan Test which starts on Sunday.

"Those two players are the best so for me to sneak up perhaps in some way, is very surprising and humbling."

All three players were this week named in the International Cricket Council's team of the decade with Smith also named as the individual Test player of the decade. Kohli took the award for the best one-day player.

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