A $734,000 bonus is bound for New Zealand Cricket after Kane Williamson and his Black Caps were confirmed as the world’s second ranked test team.

The International Cricket Council announced the season-ending rankings at the April 1 cut-off, with India winning the ICC Test Championship mace and US$1 million (NZ$1.47 million) in prizemoney for a third straight year.

New Zealand were second, eight points behind India and three ahead of South Africa, after winning their fifth successive test series against Bangladesh.

The Black Caps needed a series victory of any scoreline against Bangladesh to confirm their No 2 ranking for the first time.

They receive US$500,000 (NZ$734,000) and South Africa get US$200,000 for third, the position New Zealand finished a year ago.

Australia edged out England on decimal points for fourth place, and US$100,000.

After their 1-0 home series win over England a year ago, the Black Caps beat Pakistan 2-1 away, Sri Lanka 1-0 at home and Bangladesh 2-0, with the third test abandoned after the March 15 attack in Christchurch.

Williamson labelled their first-time world No 2 ranking “an awesome achievement” for the side.

“As a team we should be very proud. It’s come off the back of a lot of hard work and perseverance; not just by the 11 guys on the field, but the entire squad and support staff.

“It’s been especially pleasing to see the consistency we’ve shown in the longest form of the game over a decent period of time. We’re now all really looking forward to the ICC World Test Championship getting underway and the added context the competition will bring.”

After the Cricket World Cup, focus in test cricket switches to the inaugural World Test Championship where the top-nine test nations will compete across 27 series and 71 test matches for a place in the final in 2021.

New Zealand’s first assignment is a two-test series in Sri Lanka in August.

They then host England for two tests in November-December – which won’t be part of the test championship – then play three in Australia including the Boxing Day test, before hosting India for two tests in February-March.

India captain Virat Kohli said: “Our team has been doing well across formats but it gives us extra pleasure to come out on top of the test rankings. We all know of the importance of Test cricket and of how only the best can prosper in the format.”


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