Root, Anderson building form for Ashes

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Joe Root's sixth century in a bumper year has seen the England skipper jump to the top of the ICC Test rankings, in a timely warning for Australia's bowlers.

With the Ashes due to begin in December, hosts Australia will be watching with keen interest the dominance of Root, who has taken India's attack apart in their current series in England.

Root held the No.1 spot back in 2015 but lay in ninth at the start of 2021. Since then he has been in masterful form, scoring 1,398 runs in 11 matches at a lofty average of 69.90.

The 30-year-old has hit scores of 109, 180 not out and 121 in the first three matches of the current series against India, during which he has soared past opposite number Virat Kohli, Australia duo Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.

Root took the news in his stride, suggesting there was more still to come from him.

"It's a nice thing to hear, but I'm focused on trying to keep scoring runs in this series and get us across the line," he said.

"Hopefully the form of my life is still to come, but certainly I feel very good at the minute. I've got to stay focused and diligent in my preparation and doing the work around the games to keep giving myself the best chance to keep banging out some big scores.

"As nice as it is there is still so much hard work to do. The focus doesn't change, it's all about trying to keep getting better, continue scoring runs and hopefully setting up games to win Test matches."

Root has reached 916 ranking points, just one behind his 2015 peak and 15 clear of Williamson.

Australia's batsmen will also be taking notice of ageless swing bowler James Anderson.

The 39-year-old is back in the top five, where he sits behind Australia's world No.1 Pat Cummins, Ravichandran Ashwin, (India), Tim Southee (NZ) and Josh Hazlewood (Australia).

For the first time in almost four years, Kohli is not his side's top-rated batsman.

After just one half-century in seven innings since arriving in England, he has been usurped by opener Rohit Sharma at No.5.

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