Smith knocked off as world’s best batsman

Australia’s Steven Smith is no longer the world’s number one ranked Test batsman after twice being out cheaply in his side’s crushing opening Ashes defeat by England in Cardiff.

Smith had gone into the match top of the International Cricket Council’ Test batting rankings, with five hundreds in his last six Tests at an average of 131.5.

But several England players questioned whether Smith’s unorthodox technique would yield similar results in British conditions.

Smith was twice out for 33 as Ashes-holders Australia lost by a heavy 169 runs with more than a day to spare at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens on Saturday to go 1-0 down in the five-match series.

That was enough to drop him down to second place in the latest ICC batting rankings published on Sunday, with South Africa’s AB de Villiers now top of the pile.

England’s Joe Root climbed to a career-high fourth on the back of his 134 in Cardiff which the 24-year-old said was the best of his seven Test hundreds.

The Yorkshireman made 60 in the second innings as England extended their lead beyond 400.

In the bowling rankings, England’s Stuart Broad, who took five wickets in Cardiff and played a key role in Australia’s collapse on Saturday as they lost four wickets for nine runs, moved up to fifth place.

South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn remained top of the rankings, with James Anderson, Broad’s new-ball partner, staying in second place.

However, Mitchell Johnson – who took 37 wickets during Australia’s 5-0 Ashes rout of England in 2013/14 – dropped two positions to seventh after the left-arm fast bowler managed just two wickets for 180 runs in Cardiff.

Leading ICC Test player rankings as of July 12 after first Ashes Test in Cardiff (rank, change in ranking, player, team, ranking points, average, highest ranking points):

Batting

01 (+1) AB de Villiers RSA 908 52.09 935 v AUS at Port Elizabeth 2014

02 (-1) Steven Smith AUS 901 55.27 913 v WIS at Jamaica 2015

03 (-) Hashim Amla RSA 891 52.78 907 v PAK at Abu Dhabi 2013

04 (+3) Joe Root ENG 884 56.06 884 v AUS at Cardiff 2015

05 (-1) Kumar Sangakkara SRI 874 58.04 938 v ENG at Kandy 2007

06 (-1) Angelo Mathews SRI 860 51.67 877 v NZL at Christchurch 2014

07 (-1) Younus Khan PAK 829 54.07 880 v SRI at Lahore 2009

08 (-) Kane Williamson NZL 813 45.70 860 v ENG at Lord’s 2015

09 (+1) Virat Kohli IND 755 45.73 784 v NZL at Wellington 2014

10 (-1) David Warner AUS 749 46.47 880 v IND at Adelaide 2014

Bowling

01 (-) Dale Steyn RSA 905 22.55 909 v WIS at Centurion 2014

02 (-) James Anderson ENG 823 29.39 847 v WIS at Barbados 2015

03 (-) Trent Boult NZL 814 27.12 825 v ENG at Lord’s 2015

04 (-) Yasir Shah PAK 810 24.81 810 v SRI at Pallekele 2015

05 (+1) Stuart Broad ENG 801 29.59 801 v AUS at Cardiff 2015

06 (+1) Vernon Philander RSA 780 21.95 912 v IND at Johannesburg 2013

07 (-2) Mitchell Johnson AUS 766 28.01 849 v PAK at Dubai 2014

08 (-) Rangana Herath SRI 752 30.17 851 v Pak at Colombo (SSC) 2014

09 (-) Morne Morkel RSA 727 29.35 776 v AUS at Cape Town 2011

10 (-) Tim Southee NZL 713 31.63 799 v WIS at Jamaica 2014

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