Fastest 350 Wickets in Test Cricket

Fastest 350 Wickets in Test Cricket
13.10.2020,15:10 363 0

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.

PlayerOppositionGroundMatch DateDebutTimeMatScorecard
M Muralitharan (SL)v BangladeshColombo (SSC)6 Sep 200128 Aug 19929y 9d66Test # 1561
R Ashwin (INDIA)v South AfricaVisakhapatnam2 Oct 20196 Nov 20117y 330d66Test # 2363
RJ Hadlee (NZ)v West IndiesChristchurch12 Mar 19872 Feb 197314y 38d69Test # 1072
DW Steyn (SA)v IndiaDurban26 Dec 201317 Dec 20049y 9d69Test # 2111
DK Lillee (AUS)v PakistanSydney2 Jan 198429 Jan 197112y 338d70Test # 974
GD McGrath (AUS)v EnglandLeeds16 Aug 200112 Nov 19937y 277d74Test # 1556
MD Marshall (WI)v AustraliaBridgetown19 Apr 199115 Dec 197812y 125d75Test # 1169
HMRKB Herath (SL)v ZimbabweHarare6 Nov 201622 Sep 199917y 45d75Test # 2231
A Kumble (INDIA)v New ZealandAhmedabad8 Oct 20039 Aug 199013y 60d77Test # 1660
Waqar Younis (PAK)v West IndiesSharjah7 Feb 200215 Nov 198912y 84d78Test # 1588
Imran Khan (PAK)v IndiaSialkot9 Dec 19893 Jun 197118y 189d79Test # 1132
SK Warne (AUS)v IndiaMelbourne26 Dec 19992 Jan 19927y 358d80Test # 1479
Wasim Akram (PAK)v ZimbabwePeshawar27 Nov 199825 Jan 198513y 306d82Test # 1430
IT Botham (ENG)v West IndiesPort of Spain3 Apr 198628 Jul 19778y 249d83Test # 1044
Harbhajan Singh (INDIA)v South AfricaKolkata14 Feb 201025 Mar 199811y 326d83Test # 1952
CEL Ambrose (WI)v South AfricaCape Town2 Jan 19992 Apr 198810y 275d84Test # 1440
SM Pollock (SA)v IndiaKanpur20 Nov 200416 Nov 19959y 4d86Test # 1722
NM Lyon (AUS)v EnglandBirmingham1 Aug 201931 Aug 20117y 335d87Test # 2353
M Ntini (SA)v EnglandBirmingham30 Jul 200819 Mar 199810y 133d90Test # 1883
JM Anderson (ENG)v Sri LankaLord’s12 Jun 201422 May 200311y 21d93Test # 2124
SCJ Broad (ENG)v PakistanLord’s14 Jul 20169 Dec 20078y 218d95Test # 2206
CA Walsh (WI)v PakistanKarachi6 Dec 19979 Nov 198413y 27d96Test # 1391
N Kapil Dev (INDIA)v PakistanKarachi15 Nov 198916 Oct 197811y 30d100Test # 1127
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