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SYDNEY: Steve Smith been banned from top-level cricket for four months, but the International Cricket Council still rates former Australian captain as the best Test batsman in the world.

And David Warner remains in fifth place on the ICC rankings, despite copping the same 12-month ban as Smith following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

Smith still sits atop the table ahead of India’s Virat Kohli, Joe Root from England, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and then Warner on the rankings which were updated following the conclusion of the Sri Lanka-South Africa series.

The ICC uses a points system to determine the rankings, so Smith’s form prior to the Cape Town scandal lifted him to 929 points, with Kohli on 903 and Root sitting on 855.

Smith and Warner have recently made their return to cricket in a T20 league in Canada while they wait for their ban to expire, while Warner and fellow suspended batsman Cameron Bancroft are playing in a tournament in Darwin.Australia are in third place on the Test team rankings, behind India and South Africa, who on Monday lost a series to Sri Lanka.

India, on 125 points, will retain their top ranking regardless of the result of their upcoming series against England.

A series loss from Kohli’s side in the United Kingdom could however leave them vulnerable ahead of their four-Test series against Australia next Australian summer.

Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are both in the top 10-ranked Test bowlers at sixth and tenth respectively, with England’s James Anderson topping the table.

Anderson’s ascension to the top of the ICC Test bowling charts comes at the expense of Proteas firebrand Kagiso Rabada, who now sits second ahead of Ravindra Jadeja (third), Vernon Philander (fourth) and Ravi Ashwin (fifth).

There was no movement among the top 10 Test all-rounders, with Bangladesh star Shakib al Hasan remaining atop those rankings.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2018