The Bendemeer Bullet has fired into the fifth spot on the ICC's Test bowling charts, overtaking pace partner Mitchell Starc
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has burst into the top five of the International Cricket Council’s Test bowling rankings after a strong start to the home summer.
Hazlewood leapfrogged his new-ball partner Mitchell Starc, who remains in eighth spot, in the latest ICC rankings update, moving up four spots to go from ninth to fifth on the Test bowling charts.
The towering right-armer enjoyed a fruitful series against South Africa, snaring six wickets in the third Commonwealth Bank Test in Adelaide to finish as the series’ leading wicket taker with 17 scalps at 22.05.
Hazlewood now sits behind only top-ranked Test bowler Ravichandran Ashwin, Rangana Herath (second), Dale Steyn (third) and Jimmy Anderson (fourth), who all maintained their positions within the top five.
Starc and Hazlewood, without doubt, will be the best fast bowling combination Australia has ever produced. I’ve got no doubt about that.
On the batting charts, Australia captain Steve Smith remains the top-ranked Test batsman in the world but India skipper Virat Kohli is gunning for his spot after continuing his charge up the charts.
Kohli, who somewhat surprisingly begun India’s five-Test series against England in 15th position, overtook his New Zealand counterpart Kane Williamson in moving into the top three for the first time in his career.
England first-drop Joe Root retained his spot in second on the batting rankings as Williamson fell to fourth, while South Africa’s Hashim Amla remains in the top five despite a lean series with the bat against Australia.
Hazlewood removed Amla in each of his five innings for the series, as the Proteas veteran scored just 98 runs across the three Tests.
Australia Test vice-captain David Warner keeps his spot at No.7 on the batting charts while Usman Khawaja was rewarded for his strong series against South Africa, shooting up nine spots into 19th. Adam Voges (15th) is the other Australian batsman inside the top 20.
England gloveman Jonny Bairstow overtook his skipper Alastair Cook to move into ninth while Cook dropped out of the top 10 into 11th position.
Ashwin remains the No.1 ranked Test allrounder with 493 ranking points, a tally not reached by anyone since the legendary South African Jacques Kallis in 2008.
Meanwhile one half of Auystralia’s greatest ever Test pace combination Jason Gillespie has predicted that Hazlewood and Starc will surpass all before them to become Australia's greatest pace duo.
The NSW pair have now played 17 Tests together since Hazlewood's debut two years ago and have taken 161 wickets alongside each other.
“Starc and Hazlewood, without doubt, will be the best fast bowling combination Australia has ever produced," Gillespie said.
“I’ve got no doubt about that.”