It is the sixth time that Anderson has gone to the top of the rankings in a career that began against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in May 2003, and has now spanned 178 Test appearances and 682 wickets, placing him third on the all-time list behind the spin duo of Muthiah Muralidaran (800) and Shane Warne (708).
Nevertheless, the achievement is further proof of Anderson’s remarkable longevity. In the course of his seven wickets at Mount Maunganui, he brought his overall Test average down below 26 for the first time since his maiden series in 2003, but the sense that he is improving with age is backed up by his form in the last five years of his career.
Since turning 35 in July 2017, Anderson has now taken 202 wickets in 56 subsequent games, at an average of 20.56. At Mount Maunganui, he and Broad also overhauled the Test record for most wickets taken as a bowling partnership, which previously stood at 1001 between Australia’s Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
Elsewhere in the rankings, New Zealand’s pairing Tom Blundell (11th) and Devon Conway (17th) have risen to career-high positions, as have England’s trio of Ollie Pope (23rd), Harry Brook (31st) and Ben Duckett (38th).