England captain Joe Root has been knocked off the top of cricket’s world batting rankings by Ashes rival Marnus Labuschagne, of Australia.
Labuschagne scored a first-innings century as Australia beat England by 275 runs in Adelaide this week to take a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series.
The 27-year-old, who has scored more than 2,000 runs and averages 62.14 in Test cricket, tops the International Cricket Council’s batting rankings with 912 points.
Root, whose future as captain has been called into question due to England’s lack of competitiveness, is second on 897 points. Labuschagne’s Australia team-mate Steve Smith is third, on 884.
England fast bowler Mark Wood, meanwhile, has revealed senior players Root and Ben Stokes had attempted to rally the group ahead of the third Test in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
Wood said they delivered “a bit of a kick up the bum, saying ‘this isn’t good enough’.
“We’ve talked in depth about how things can get better. Not just words or cliched words, we actually set out what we’re going to do in Melbourne practice-wise, what we’re going to do differently.”
Wood also said coach Chris Silverwood had laid down the law in an attempt to provoke a response in the make-or-break third match.
“This time it was sterner from Chris Silverwood,” he added.
“To hear [Chris Silverwood] speak like that – not because he’s under pressure or anything – but to hear him speak like that rather than just being his usual coaching self, he was actually annoyed and wanted a change.
“Hopefully it comes at the right time for us to catch a spark.”