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Kohli 'absolutely delighted' to retain top ranking

After receiving the ICC Test Championship mace on Tuesday, Virat Kohli said: "I'm proud that we have proved ourselves to be the best."

India - cropped
India pose with the ICC Test Championship mace in Dharamsala

India will receive a $1million bonus for retaining the ICC Test Championship mace and skipper Virat Kohli is proud of the character his side have shown in retaining the number-one ranking.

Kohli's side were already assured of reaching the April 1 cut-off as Test cricket's top-ranked side, following their victory in the second Test against Australia earlier this month.

After they sealed a series win over Australia in Dharamsala on Tuesday, Kohli - who missed the final Test through injury - was presented with the Test Championship mace and hailed the hard work put in by his players.

"We are absolutely delighted to have topped the ICC Test rankings. The longest format of the game really tests a team's character and I'm proud that we have proved ourselves to be the best," said Kohli via an ICC media release.

"Being presented with the Test Championship mace last year was an exhilarating experience and the feeling is no different this time.

"I'd like to both congratulate and thank everyone who has been part of this success. This includes not only all the players who have been in the squad but also the team management and support staff, without whom we could not have done so well. It has not been an easy journey but all the hard work has been worth it.

"We have maintained our position with some really good cricket in recent months. The team has shown the tenacity to bounce back from difficult situations."

Kohli received the mace from former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar, who added: "Congratulations to the Indian team for its superb performances in Test cricket. Being at the top in this format is no mean achievement and proves that the players have been doing well on a consistent basis."

It remains to be seen who will receive the $500,000 prize for being ranked second on April 1. South Africa currently hold that position, but the Proteas will slip below Australia if they are beaten by New Zealand on Wednesday, with the Black Caps in a dominant position heading into the fifth and final day.

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