A magnificent unbeaten double-century by Alastair Cook has helped him to finish the year inside the top 10 of the latest MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, which were released today following the conclusion of the Melbourne and Port Elizabeth Tests

The 33-year-old left-handed opener scored 244 in his side’s first innings score of 491, which has helped him to rise nine places to eighth position. He will now start 2018 with South Africa’s seventh-ranked Hashim Amla firmly within his sights, who is 17 points ahead of the former England captain.

Cook had begun the year in 15th position, while he had entered the Ashes in 10th position. Meanwhile, Steve Smith’s contributions of 76 and 102 not out have not only strengthened his position at the top of the table but also given him sole possession of second place for the highest-ever ranking points.

Cook had begun the year in 15th position, while he had entered the Ashes in 10th position.

For his efforts in Melbourne, Smith earned two points and is now 14 points behind Don Bradman (961) and two points ahead of Len Hutton (945) in the all-time list.

England captain Joe Root is the other batsman to improve his ranking, when he moved up one place to join his opposite number from New Zealand, Kane Williamson, in fourth place. Root and Williamson had started 2017 in third and fourth positions, respectively.

Australia opener David Warner is sixth, 24 points behind Root and Williamson, after his scores of 103 and 86 earned him 30 points. Warner had started 2017 in fifth position.

In the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Bowlers, there is no change in the top nine with England’s James Anderson leading the field. Anderson had started the year on 810 points in sixth position and has finished on 892 points in number-one spot.

The spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Rangana Herath had started 2017 in the top three positions, and have finished at third, fourth and sixth places, respectively, while Australia’s Josh Hazlewood started and finished in fifth spot.

The only change in the top 10 is the return of South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel in 10th position. The 33-year-old claimed five for 21 in Zimbabwe’s first innings for which he has been rewarded with a rise of three places, which has now put him one place ahead of Dale Steyn. It is for the first time in nearly two years that Morkel is within the top 10.

Morkel’s team-mate Keshav Maharaj, who took five for 59 in Zimbabwe’s second innings, has gained two places and is now at a career-high 16th position.

Outside the top 20, Warwickshire and England’s Chris Woakes and Australia’s Pat Cummins have moved up three places each. Woakes is now in 28th place, while Cummins is now ranked 36th.

Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh is the number-one ranked all-rounder and he is followed by India’s Ravichandran Ashwin.