Virat Kohli on top of the world after Edgbaston ton

Virat Kohli scored one of the best centuries of his career against England to silence some critics. (AP)
Updated 05 August 2018
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Virat Kohli on top of the world after Edgbaston ton

BIRMINGHAM: Virat Kohli broke new ground by topping the International Cricket Council Test batting rankings for the first time in his career when the latest edition was published Sunday.
The India captain, already at the head of the equivalent one-day international batting chart, found himself at the summit of these standings after scoring 149 — his maiden Test century in England — and 51 during the series opener at Edgbaston.
Unfortunately for Kohli, his impressive match haul of exactly 200 runs could not prevent an India defeat by 31 runs on Saturday’s fourth day in Birmingham, with England now 1-0 up in a five-match series.
Kohli’s two innings boosted his ranking rating by 31 points and helped him end Steve Smith’s 32-month reign as the top-ranked batsman in Test cricket.
Former Australia captain Smith is currently serving a 12-month international ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal during a Test against South Africa at Cape Town in March,
Kohli is now on top of the rankings for the first time in an impressive 67-Test career that has yielded 5,754 runs at an average of 54.28, including 22 hundreds.
He now leads Smith by five points, but will have to maintain the form in the remaining four Tests to end the series as the world’s highest-ranked batsman.
Kohli is the seventh Indian, and first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011, to hold the number-one Test batting position.
Apart from Kohli and Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Dilip Vengsarkar are the other India batsmen to have been in the top spot during their Test careers.
However, at 934 points, Kohli has become India’s highest-ranked batsman, 14th overall, on the all-time tally of points.
Kohli had entered the Edgbaston Test on 903 points, 13 points behind former opening batsman Gavaskar, and is now ahead of the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer by 18 points.
Meanwhile James Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, remained on top of an unchanged top 10 in the Test bowling rankings following his impressive display at Edgbaston which included a brilliant duel with Kohli.
The rankings will next be updated following the second Test between England and India at Lord’s, which begins on August 9.

Leading MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings
Batting
01 (+1) Virat Kohli (IND)
02 (-1) Steve Smith (AUS)
03 (-) Joe Root (ENG)
04 (-) Kane Williamson (NZL)
05 (-) David Warner (AUS)
06 (-) Cheteshwar Pujara (IND)
07 (-) Dimuth Karunaratne (SRI)
08 (-) Dinesh Chandimal (SRI)
09 (-) Dean Elgar (RSA)
10 (-) Aiden Markram (RSA)

Bowling
01 (-) James Anderson (ENG)
02 (-) Kagiso Rabada (RSA)
03 (-) Ravindra Jadeja (IND)
04 (-) Vernon Philander (RSA)
05 (-) Ravichandran Ashwin (IND)
06 (-) Pat Cummins (AUS)
07 (-) Trent Boult (NZL)
08 (-) Rangana Herath (SRI)
09 (-) Neil Wagner (NZL)
10 (-) Josh Hazlewood (AUS)


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
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Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

  • World No. 4 wins third three-setter of the week beat Hsieh Su-wei and claim place in the final.
  • Swiss star Bencic deals a forehand smash to Svitolina's chances of unprecedented hat-trick.

LONDON: If Petra Kvitova does get her hands on the Dubai trophy against Belinda Bencic on Saturday, she will be quick to admit she did it the hard way.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was once again made to toil at the Aviation Club as she finally overcame Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was her third three-setter in four days and came about as much through sheer grit and determination as any superior groundstrokes or serves.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” the Czech said.
“It was a tough one, for sure. She really didn’t give me anything for free.
“It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. Anyway I didn’t play great at the end of the first.”
Coming into the event the world No. 4 admitted she was undercooked and in need of some game time. While, in hindsight, the three-setters against Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady in the first two rounds probably did her some good, another match that went the distance was probably not in the ideal script for the 2013 Dubai champion.
But Hsieh is a tricky opponent and she proved it once again on Centre Court. The world No. 31 hits two-handed shots off both sides and was trying to beat her fourth top-10 seed of the week. That included wins over Angelique Kerber in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Bencic will try to upset Kvitova in Saturday's final at the Aviation Club (AFP) 


She started off in much the same vein as she had finished against Kerber and Pliskova, hurrying Kvitova around the court and making life as uncomfortable as possible under the hot Dubai sun.
“She’s very tricky,” Kvitova said about Hsieh, who grabbed five games in a row to take the opening set and go up 1-0 in the second.
“I didn’t really play the best at the end of the first set. But I calmed down afterwards a little bit,” Kvitova said.
“With Hsieh, I need to be a little bit patient. ... It’s not really that easy to make those winners against her.”
While she has 
not consistently displayed her A-game this week it should come as no shock that Kvitova has made today’s final. It was the second seed’s 17th victory of 2019 — a feat bettered by no one — and it will be her third final of the season and 35th of her career. She revealed that her presence in the showdown is thanks to her mental toughness and she admitted that after a long week she will have to draw on that a lot today.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was more calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set,” Kvitova said.
“I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow — it was something weird.
“I’m a bit tired right now, to be honest. I have a final, so I don’t know how I going to recover. Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me.”
Of her sparkling form so far this year she said: “It’s a bit weird, to be honest. I didn’t really expect anything like that. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect anything, which I already achieved this year. For me, everything is just bonus.
“As I mentioned, the tennis, it’s a bit like escape this week. This is unbelievable to be in the final when I’m escaping from something. Yeah, very interesting.”
In the other semifinal Bencic once again upset the odds to overcome world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. The Swiss went into the clash as the underdog, but from the off the world No. 45 was aggressive and deservedly won.
In doing so she ended Svitolina’s 12-match winning streak in Dubai and ended the two-time defending champion’s hopes of becoming the first woman to win three Dubai titles in a row.