Australia claimed the No 1 Test ranking from India after recording a comfortable seven-wicket win on day five of the second trans-Tasman Test against New Zealand.
The tourists resumed at 70-1 on Wednesday, needing a further 131 runs to defeat New Zealand in Christchurch.
Steve Smith finished 53 not out, ensuring there were no nervous moments for Australia. Adam Voges struck the winning runs in the fourth over after lunch on day five but it was fitting that Smith was in the middle.
The 26-year-old’s undefeated streak as captain is now 11 Tests – seven of which are wins – and Australia have come on in leaps and bounds since their miserable Ashes campaign in England last year.
The 2-0 series win lifts Smith’s side to the summit of the International Cricket Council’s rankings. It is the first time Australia have occupied top spot since 2014.
On top of bragging rights, Australia secured a $1 million cash prize and the ceremonial championship mace.
Smith admitted afterwards that he needed to set a better example after being charged with dissent.
Smith’s reign as captain has been full of success and largely free of incident. Even retiring New Zealand counterpart Brendon McCullum praised Smith on Wednesday, suggesting Australia are now playing without the ‘semantics of past eras’.
But Smith lost his cool on day four of the Christchurch clash, as the tourists were charging towards the No 1 Test ranking. The 26-year-old was belatedly booked for his heated approach to controlling umpire Ranmore Martinesz.
Smith queried why third umpire Richard Illingworth didn’t use the snickometer to assess an lbw shout that Australia reviewed.
‘That was basically what I was doing at the time and that’s deemed to be dissent,’ Smith said of his heated approach. ‘I’ll cop that on the chin and I need to be better as a leader; I need to set the example. That wasn’t good enough.’
Josh Hazlewood was docked 15% of his match fee, the red mist having also descended on the spearhead after Illingworth ruled against the visitors. – Australian Associated Press