Brilliant Babar overtakes Kohli as number-one ODI batsman

By Sports Desk April 14, 2021

Pakistan's Babar Azam has risen above Virat Kohli to take top spot in the ODI batting rankings.

After a fine showing in the recent series victory over South Africa, Babar replaced his India rival at the summit with 865 points to Kohli's 857.

Babar scored 103 in the opening fixture against the Proteas and closed the three-match showdown with a fine 94, earning the player of the match award.

"This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time, like Sir Vivian Richards from January 1984 to October 1988 and Virat Kohli for 1,258 days," said Babar, who is sixth in the Test rankings and third in the T20I format.

"I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman's calibre, reputation and skills.

"I understand to achieve this objective, I will not only have to perform consistently, but more importantly, against the top sides.

"I am looking forward to this challenge and remain confident I will be able to accomplish this target with the support of my team-mates and coaching staff."

Babar has played 80 ODIs, scoring 3,808 runs at an average of 56.83, a strike rate of 88.7, and with a highest score of 125 not out.

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    Ajaz Patel sensationally became only the third man to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings before India dominated New Zealand on an astonishing day two of the second Test.

    Spinner Patel claimed stunning figures of 10-119 as India were bowled out for 325, but the tourists were skittled out for only 62 in reply as the India attack ripped through their batting line-up.

    The hosts ended the day 69-0 in their second innings in Mumbai, with a commanding lead of 332 heading into day three.

    Patel started where he left off on day one, taking the wickets of Wriddhiman Saha (27) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0) in consecutive balls during the first over, before eventually removing Mayank Agarwal for a brilliant 150.

    Axar Patel (52) and Jayant Yadav (12) were the next victims, before Mohammed Siraj (4) edged an attempted sweep to Rachin Ravindra to make it a perfect 10 for Patel.

    That was very much where the day peaked for New Zealand as India set about ripping through the Black Caps.

    Siraj removed Tom Latham (10) before getting rid of Will Young (4) and Ross Taylor (1) in consecutive balls. The seamer nearly had a hat-trick, but a review show his delivery to Henry Nicholls pitched just outside leg stump.

    Ashwin (4-8) then came to the fore, with Kyle Jamieson (17) and Latham the only New Zealand batsmen to make double figures.

    Agarwal (38 not out) and Pujara (29no) calmly eased India through to stumps in a dominant position.


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    It is an incredible story. A man born in Mumbai returns as a New Zealand player to take all 10 wickets in an innings. The only thing more surprising involving Patel on day two was that the New Zealand number 11 was out in the middle holding a bat just a couple of hours later.

    It was just the third time in the history of men's Test cricket that a bowler has taken every wicket in a single innings, following in the footsteps of Jim Laker in 1956 and Anil Kumble in 1999.

    The 33-year-old, who was New Zealand's not-out batsman, would probably appreciate a bit more help from his team-mates on day three.

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    New Zealand were already reeling after Siraj (3-19) reduced them to 17-3, but having seen what the spin of Patel had achieved, they must have been fretting about what Ashwin would do when he came on, and with good cause.

    The 35-year-old bamboozled the tourists - missing injured captain Kane Williamson - and Axar Patel took 2-14 as the winners of the inaugural World Test Championship were humiliated.  

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    Ajaz Patel enjoyed a remarkable day two of the second Test between India and New Zealand as he claimed all 10 wickets in the hosts' first innings on Saturday.

    Patel finished with figures of 10-119 in 47.5 overs in Mumbai, where he was born, as the tourists bowled out India for 325.

    It was just the third time in the history of men's Test cricket that a bowler has taken a clean sweep of wickets in a single innings. The previous players to achieve the feat were Jim Laker in 1956 and Anil Kumble in 1999.

    Shubman Gill was caught at slip after India had posted a commanding 80 without loss to start the day, and Patel followed up by skittling Cheteshwar Pujara and trapping Virat Kohli lbw – each for a duck – in the same over.

    Shreyas Iyer followed before Wriddhiman Saha and Ravichandran Ashwin went in consecutive deliveries, although India had by this time moved to 224-6.

    Mayank Agarwal, Axar Patel and Jayant Yadav fell for the loss of 30 more runs, and history was made when Rachin Ravindra caught Mohammed Siraj's high slice.

    Australia's Aaron Finch described the innings as "the most amazing thing I've ever seen" while former India star VVS Laxman tweeted to say: "Sensational! Just sensational!! To take all 10 wickets in a Test innings is the stuff dreams are made of."

    Former India head coach and all-rounder Ravi Shastri added: "One of the toughest things to do in the game of cricket. To have an entire team in your kitty in an innings is too good to be true. Simply unreal. Well done young man."

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