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
- 2. Ravichandran Ashwin (India) – 66 Tests
- 3. Richard Hadlee (New Zealand) – 69 Tests
- 4. Dale Steyn (South Africa) – 69 Tests
- 5. Dennis Lillee (Australia) – 70 Tests
- 6. Glenn McGrath (Australia) – 74 Tests
- 7. Malcolm Marshall (West Indies) – 75 Tests
- 8. Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka) – 75 Tests
- 9. Anil Kumble (India) – 77 Tests
- 10. Waqar Younis (Pakistan) – 78 Tests
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.
|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|
Test cricket is all about consistency. Form breeds constancy which in turn augments the form of a player. And when batsmen are in such red-hot form, their willow seems wider and they seem to always have some extra time to play the ball. At times, it seems almost impossible to get them out. We will […]
The advent of T20 cricket and the incoming emergence of the Hundred ball format has made international cricket very much a batsmen-friendly game. Batting powerplays coupled with big hitting influenced by the popularity of having to score quickly throughout an innings have seen bowlers look for alternative means to restrict batting sides. Opening bowling with […]
In this article, we look at 10 players who have enjoyed the most matches as captains in ODI cricket. Former Australia skipper leads the pack with 230 matches as captain of which he won 165 and lost 51, resulting in a win percentage of 76.14, which is also the highest for captains who have led […]
In this article, we look at 10 wicket-keepers who have registered the most stumpings in Test cricket. 1. WAS Oldfield (Australia): 52 Oldfield, who played 54 Tests for Australia between 1920 and 1937, had 130 dismissals in 101 innings, including 78 catches and 52 stumpings. In the process, Oldfield registered the highest ratio of 0.51 […]
Test cricket is one of the oldest and finest formats of cricket and the players involved in this format need to be very fit and patient. This format always challenges a player’s temperament and many players have shown their best qualities while playing this format of the game throughout the years. In the following list, […]
Generally, in ODIs, players do not strike like in T20Is but few players have managed to achieve the fastest strike rates in this format too. During death overs, many players have the unique ability to shift the gyre and they have done it many times for their team. An attacking innings affects the opponent a […]