Kane Williamson has become the second New Zealand batsman after Glenn Turner to top the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen after producing a man of the match performance in the Hamilton Test against Sri Lanka.
Williamson scored 108 not out, his 13th century in 46 Tests, as New Zealand achieved the 189-run target with five wickets to spare, which helped the home side win the match by five wickets and the series two-nil.
The 25 year-old Williamson, who played in the U19 Cricket World Cup 2008, earned 11 points for his efforts, which was enough to put him ahead of England’s Joe Root and AB de Villiers of South Africa in the number-one batting spot.
Turner was at the top for 425 days between 1973 and 1975, but this was before the rankings were officially launched in 1987.
The other highest-ranked New Zealand batsmen have been Martin Crowe (third), John F Reid (third), John R Reid (fourth), Bert Sutcliffe (fourth), Mark Richardson (sixth) and John Wright (seventh).
In terms of points, the leading New Zealand batsman ever is Williamson, who achieved 893 points last month. He is followed by Ross Taylor (871 in 2013), Turner (845 in 1974) and Geoff Howarth (804 in 1981). The foursome are the only New Zealand batsmen to reach the 800-point mark in Test cricket.
Root and de Villiers, along with Australia’s fourth-ranked Steven Smith and fifth-ranked David Warner, will go into the Boxing Day Tests aiming to finish the year as the number-one ranked Test batsman.
The right-handed Root and de Villiers trail Williamson by three and eight points, respectively, while Smith is 15 points and Warner 26 points behind the New Zealander.
It has been an outstanding year for Williamson. He started the year in 13th position, but after scoring 1,172 runs in 16 innings and eight Tests with five centuries and four half-centuries, he has stormed to the top of the tree.