13.10.2020,15:10 672 0

Fastest 350 Wickets in Test Cricket

Fastest 350 Wickets in Test Cricket

Three-fifty Test wickets is no small achievement and only skilled bowlers with the stamina to last long can reach the milestone. Our list is even more special because the bowlers have achieved the feat in a short time.

The list includes all-time great bowlers as is to be expected. India, Australia and Sri Lanka contribute two bowlers each. Ravichandran Ashwin and Dale Steyn are the only active bowlers. Let’s take a closer look at each achiever’s strengths and overall Test and ODI records.

1. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) – 66 Tests

Controversial off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan leads the list. His splendid record is somewhat flawed by the doubts about whether his bowling action was legal. Muralitharan went to great lengths to prove that his action was clean. He could turn the ball on almost any pitch and won many a game for his nation.

Muralitharan played 133 Tests from 1992 to 2010, claiming a world record 800 wickets at a 22.72 average and a 55.0 strike rate with 67 five-fors and 22 10-wicket game hauls. Murali’s best Test innings figures were 9/51. He also snared 534 wickets in ODIs at a 23.08 average, a 3.93 economy rate and a 35.2 strike rate.

2. Ravichandran Ashwin (India) – 66 Tests

R Ashwin shares the leading position with the legendary Muralitharan, with an equal 66 Tests needed to achieve the milestone. His initial success was in the IPL (Indian Premier League) but he transferred his effectiveness to the international arena as well. He took over the mantle of India’s leading spin bowler from Harbhajan Singh and got immediate success on his Test debut, grabbing 9 wickets in the match against the Windies in 2011.

As of October 2020, Ashwin has featured in 71 Tests, claiming 365 scalps at a 25.43 average and a 53.6 strike rate with 27 five-fors and 7 10-wicket game hauls. Ashwin’s best Test figures are 7/59. He has also starred in 111 ODIs, taking 150 wickets at a 32.91 average, a 4.91 economy rate and a 40.1 strike rate.

3. Richard Hadlee (New Zealand) – 69 Tests

Sir Richard Hadlee was the first bowler to take 400 Test wickets, which has cemented his place in the history of cricket as a great fast bowler. He won many matches almost single-handedly for New Zealand. Hadlee was also an aggressive batsman and staked a claim to be named one of the best all-rounders of his era along with Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Ian Botham.

Hadlee played 86 Tests from 1973 to 1990, bagging a total of 431 wickets at a 22.29 average and a 50.8 strike rate with 36 five-fors and 9 match hauls of 10 wickets. Hadlee’s best Test innings figures were 9/52. He also smashed 3,124 runs in Tests at a 27.16 average with 15 fifties and 2 hundreds. His best Test score was 151 not out.

4. Dale Steyn (South Africa) – 69 Tests

South Africa’s Dale Steyn is a feared pace bowler with an impressive strike rate in Tests. With a rhythmic run-up and aerodynamic action he delivers almost unplayable inswingers and outswingers. Skateboarding was his childhood passion but after moving to a bigger city, Pretoria, he took up cricket seriously and started excelling in the game.

Having made his Test debut in 2004, Steyn has appeared in 93 matches, snaring 439 scalps at a 22.95 average and a 42.3 strike rate with 26 five-fors and 5 10-wicket game hauls, as of October 2020. Steyn’s best figures in a Test innings are 7/51. He has also bagged 196 wickets in 125 ODIs at a 25.95 average, a 4.87 economy rate and a 31.9 strike rate.

5. Dennis Lillee (Australia) – 70 Tests

Lion-hearted Aussie fast bowler Dennis Lillee was adored by his country’s fans who chanted his name as he menacingly charged in. He often made breakthroughs in crucial situations to turn the game in his team’s favour. After retirement, he continued to contribute to the game as an international coach.

Lillee featured in 70 Tests from 1971 to 1984, claiming 355 wickets at a 23.92 average and a 52.0 strike rate with 23 five-fors and 7 10-wicket game hauls. Lillee’s best figures in a Test innings were 7/83.

6. Glenn McGrath (Australia) – 74 Tests

“Pigeon” McGrath was not the fastest of bowlers but yet one of the most effective ones. He used to bowl a steady line and length on and around the off-stump and trouble the best batters with the bounce and movement both ways. His recipe for success worked in ODIs too.

McGrath starred in 124 Tests from 1993 to 2007, snaring 563 scalps at a 21.64 average and a 51.9 strike rate with 29 five-fors and 3 10-wicket game hauls. Pigeon’s best Test innings figures were 8/24. He also claimed 381 wickets in 250 ODIs at a 22.02 average, a 3.88 economy rate and a 34.0 strike rate.

7. Malcolm Marshall (West Indies) – 75 Tests

Malcolm Marshall stood out for his open action which concealed the intent of his masterly inswingers and outswingers. He also boasted a malicious bouncer though he was relatively short. In addition, he had great courage, stamina and a great cricketing mind.

Marshall appeared in 81 Tests from 1978 to 1991 and bagged 376 wickets at a 20.94 average and a 46.7 strike rate with 22 five-fors and 4 10-wicket game hauls. Marshall’s best figures in a Test innings were 7/22. He also claimed 157 scalps in 136 ODIs at a 26.96 average, a 3.53 economy rate and a 45.7 strike rate.

8. Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka) – 75 Tests

Rangana Herath, a left-arm spinner, spearheaded Sri Lanka’s spin attack after Muralitharan’s retirement. He was deadly accurate and had the stamina to bowl lengthy spells. His quicker ‘mystery’ ball skidding into right-handers was hard to spot.

Herath played 93 Tests from 1999 to 2018, grabbing a total of 433 wickets at a 28.07 average and a 60.0 strike rate with 34 five-fors and 9 10-wicket game hauls. Herath’s best Test innings figures were 9/127.

9. Anil Kumble (India) – 77 Tests

‘Jumbo’ Anil Kumble was not a big turner of the ball but the tremendous success of his fastish leg-spin was explained by his deadly accuracy and disconcerting bounce. He hacked the ball through the air and imparted a lethal kick to it. On cracked Indian pitches he was almost unplayable.

Jumbo featured in 132 Tests from 1990 to 2008, grabbing 619 scalps at a 29.65 average and a 65.9 strike rate with 35 five-fors and 8 10-wicket game hauls. He also claimed 337 wickets in 271 ODIs at a 30.89 average, a 4.30 economy rate and a 43.0 strike rate.

10. Waqar Younis (Pakistan) – 78 Tests

The ‘Burewala Express’ rounds out our list with 78 Tests needed to reach 450 Test wickets. He was a master of reverse swing and delivered deadly sandshoe crushers at a great pace. With determination, he overcame back injuries to become one of the best fast bowlers ever produced by Pakistan.

Waqar starred in 87 Tests from 1989 to 2003, snaring 373 wickets at a 23.56 average and a 43.4 strike rate with 22 five-fors and 5 10-wicket game hauls. He also bagged 416 scalps in 262 ODIs at a 23.84 average, a 4.68 economy rate and a 30.5 strike rate.

Player Opposition Ground Match Date Debut Time Mat Scorecard
M Muralitharan (SL) v Bangladesh Colombo (SSC) 6 Sep 2001 28 Aug 1992 9y 9d 66 Test # 1561
R Ashwin (INDIA) v South Africa Visakhapatnam 2 Oct 2019 6 Nov 2011 7y 330d 66 Test # 2363
RJ Hadlee (NZ) v West Indies Christchurch 12 Mar 1987 2 Feb 1973 14y 38d 69 Test # 1072
DW Steyn (SA) v India Durban 26 Dec 2013 17 Dec 2004 9y 9d 69 Test # 2111
DK Lillee (AUS) v Pakistan Sydney 2 Jan 1984 29 Jan 1971 12y 338d 70 Test # 974
GD McGrath (AUS) v England Leeds 16 Aug 2001 12 Nov 1993 7y 277d 74 Test # 1556
MD Marshall (WI) v Australia Bridgetown 19 Apr 1991 15 Dec 1978 12y 125d 75 Test # 1169
HMRKB Herath (SL) v Zimbabwe Harare 6 Nov 2016 22 Sep 1999 17y 45d 75 Test # 2231
A Kumble (INDIA) v New Zealand Ahmedabad 8 Oct 2003 9 Aug 1990 13y 60d 77 Test # 1660
Waqar Younis (PAK) v West Indies Sharjah 7 Feb 2002 15 Nov 1989 12y 84d 78 Test # 1588
Imran Khan (PAK) v India Sialkot 9 Dec 1989 3 Jun 1971 18y 189d 79 Test # 1132
SK Warne (AUS) v India Melbourne 26 Dec 1999 2 Jan 1992 7y 358d 80 Test # 1479
Wasim Akram (PAK) v Zimbabwe Peshawar 27 Nov 1998 25 Jan 1985 13y 306d 82 Test # 1430
IT Botham (ENG) v West Indies Port of Spain 3 Apr 1986 28 Jul 1977 8y 249d 83 Test # 1044
Harbhajan Singh (INDIA) v South Africa Kolkata 14 Feb 2010 25 Mar 1998 11y 326d 83 Test # 1952
CEL Ambrose (WI) v South Africa Cape Town 2 Jan 1999 2 Apr 1988 10y 275d 84 Test # 1440
SM Pollock (SA) v India Kanpur 20 Nov 2004 16 Nov 1995 9y 4d 86 Test # 1722
NM Lyon (AUS) v England Birmingham 1 Aug 2019 31 Aug 2011 7y 335d 87 Test # 2353
M Ntini (SA) v England Birmingham 30 Jul 2008 19 Mar 1998 10y 133d 90 Test # 1883
JM Anderson (ENG) v Sri Lanka Lord’s 12 Jun 2014 22 May 2003 11y 21d 93 Test # 2124
SCJ Broad (ENG) v Pakistan Lord’s 14 Jul 2016 9 Dec 2007 8y 218d 95 Test # 2206
CA Walsh (WI) v Pakistan Karachi 6 Dec 1997 9 Nov 1984 13y 27d 96 Test # 1391
N Kapil Dev (INDIA) v Pakistan Karachi 15 Nov 1989 16 Oct 1978 11y 30d 100 Test # 1127
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