Virat Kohli moved up three places to No. 2 after plundering 610 runs against Sri Lanka. © BCCI

Virat Kohli moved up three places to No. 2 after plundering 610 runs against Sri Lanka. © BCCI

Virat Kohli has risen to No. 2 in the rankings for Test batsmen at the conclusion of the three-Test series between India and Sri Lanka.

In the new rankings, out on Thursday (December 7), Kohli had moved up three places after plundering 610 runs in five innings against Sri Lanka, including two double-centuries and a century. He is now at 893 points, still considerably behind the top-ranked Steven Smith, who has 938 points. Kohli has gone past Joe Root, who is on 879 points, with Cheteshwar Pujara close behind on 873.

Kohli’s next Test assignment will be when India tour South Africa in January for three matches, where he should have a chance to climb to the top spot for the first time ever in his career. Smith, meanwhile, has three more Ashes Tests against England to solidify his position.

If Kohli does manage to reach the top spot in Tests, he will make history as only the second batsman ever to hold the top rank in all three formats at the same time. The only other man to do so was Ricky Ponting in December-January 2005-06. Matthew Hayden, Ponting’s Australia compatriot, has topped the batting rankings in each format, but not at the same time.

The latest rankings took into account the second Ashes Test that Australia won by 120 runs and the first New Zealand-Windies Test, which the home side won by an innings and 67 runs in Wellington, along with the third and final India-Sri Lanka game.

Among the bowlers, James Anderson continued to top the rankings with 894 points, but the pack behind him has gotten closer. While Kagiso Rabada is second with 876 points, Ravindra Jadeja (870 points) and R Ashwin (829 points) are not too far away.

In the team rankings, India lost a point but retained their comfortable lead at the top, with 124 points as against second-placed South Africa’s 111 points.