Mount Maunganui, New Zealand: Talismanic New Zealand captain Kane Williamson says it is "surprising and humbling" to leapfrog star Australia batsman Steve Smith and India skipper Virat Kohli to the top spot in the ICC Test rankings.
Williamson (890) gained 13 rating points for his player-of-the-match effort of 129 and 21 in New Zealand's 101-run win over Pakistan in the first Test to end the year at the top position on Thursday.
He dethroned Smith, who slipped to the third spot after managing scores of 0 and 8 in the two innings against India at the MCG. Kohli (879) is at second, 11 points behind Williamson and two more than Smith.
"Those two players (Virat Kohli and Steve Smith) are the best. For me, sneak up ahead of someone (like them) is very surprising and humbling," Williamson said in a video posted on the ICC's Twitter handle.
🗣️ "It was a great game to be involved in. We seem to have many tight finishes against Pakistan. The last three have gone to the last 25 minutes of the last day."
— ICC (@ICC) December 31, 2020
"Those are the two players year and year out in all formats moving the game forward, very fortunate to play against these guys," said the 30-year-old right handed batsman.
Williamson had briefly occupied the top spot towards the end of 2015 before Kohli and Smith soared ahead of him.
"It's about trying to do as much as you can for the team. If you can contribute as much as you can and it can be reflected on the rankings, that's really cool," he said.
Williamson said his focus was on helping New Zealand achieve success across all formats and personal milestones are just a byproduct of that process.
New Zealand clinched a last-session thriller in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan in Mount Maunganui after the visitors put up a valiant fight.
"It was a great game to be involved in. We seem to have many tight finishes against Pakistan. The last three have gone to the last 25 minutes of the last day. Both teams fought incredibly hard.
"I think we had moments although the resistance put up by Pakistan on the last day was incredibly strong. It is really exciting to cross the line and hunt for an opportunity for the World Test Championship," said Williamson.
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With India set a record target of 328 by Australia at the Gabba, left-arm pacer Starc clutching his right hamstring before the final day's play was a cause for concern for the home team.
Labuschagne, however, credited the Indian bowlers for being disciplined early on and hardly giving away any scoring opportunities.
Following remedial work on his bowling action, he was reassessed and permitted to resume bowling in February 2019, before being handed a 12 month ban in September.