New Zealand have leapfrogged South Africa to third position in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for Test teams.
A recent victory over Sri Lanka earned New Zealand the elevation, while the South Africans have slipped to fourth, despite having a one-nil lead over Pakistan in an ongoing three-match series.
The Proteas are followed by fifth-placed Australia and sixth-placed Sri Lanka.
India lead the rankings, while England are placed second.
Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Indies and Zimbabwe currently occupy seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th places respectively.
Meanwhile, South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has beaten Sri Lanka’s Dilruwan Perera and Australia’s Nathan Lyon to finish as the year’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket.
Rabada took 52, including six in last week’s series opener against Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion during 2018.
Perera and Lyon finished with 50 and 49 respectively.
Right-armer Rabada’s year featured a record-breaking 11-wicket match haul against Australia at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas’ Faf du Plessis recorded the second worst average among Test cricket’s captains who batted 10 times or more this year.
Du Plessis averaged a mere 24.36 in 10 matches – almost 17 runs less than his career aggregate of 41.27.
Only Pakistani Sarfraz Ahmed’s 24.07 was lower.
The year brought 10 Tests for Du Plessis – four against Australia, three versus India, two in Sri Lanka and one with Pakistan.
He averaged 30.50, 26.25, 25.00 and zero against the Indians, Sri Lankans, Australians and Pakistanis.
Australia’s Tim Paine, West Indian Jason Holder and Sri Lanka’ Dinesh Chandimal gathered 2018 Test cricket captains’ third, fourth and fifth lowest averages respectively.