Suspended Smith still top of the charts...for now
HE has been banned from top-level cricket for the past four months, but the International Cricket Council still rates former Australian captain Steve Smith as the best Test batsman in the world in its latest rankings update.
And David Warner is in fifth place in the ICC rankings, despite copping the same 12-month ban as Smith following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Smith (929 points) still sits atop the table ahead of India's Virat Kohli (903), Joe Root (855) from England, New Zealand's Kane Williamson (847) and then Warner (820).
However, although Smith has a healthy lead of 26 points on Kohli, he is unlikely to hold onto top spot when he returns to national duty.
The ICC docks players one per cent of their rating for every Test missed.
Australia is scheduled to play another eight Tests before the end of Smith's suspension, by which point the former Australian captain will have a rating of 857 - his lowest since December 2014.
Remarkably that would still have him sitting second on the current rankings, sandwiched between Kohli and Root. Warner will return with a rating of 749.
Smith and Warner have recently made their return to cricket in a T20 league in Canada while they wait for their ban to expire, while Warner and fellow suspended batsman Cameron Bancroft are playing in a tournament in Darwin.
Australia is in third place on the Test team rankings, behind India and South Africa, who on Monday lost a series to Sri Lanka.
Despite being the most successful quick of the Sri Lanka series, South Africa's Kagiso Rabada (eight wickets at 23.87) relinquished top spot on the Test bowling rankings to England's James Anderson.
Rabada sits second on 882 points, 10 behind Anderson.
Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are both in the top 10-ranked Test bowlers at sixth and tenth respectively.
India, on 125 points, will retain its top ranking regardless of the result of their upcoming series against England.