Fresh the legs, more the fizz- this is what I believe when it comes to the bowling in the traditional format. Bowling in Test cricket has always been an arduous task. Notably, the fast bowlers are supposed to keep themselves fit for the longer spells under the sweltering sun. However, premium spinners have maintained the first three positions of the most Test wickets.
Yes, it has to be some serious competition.
However, the spinners at the same time have had to avoid peeling off their skin by bowling most-half of the day. And in between, we witness the bowlers bowling their heart out to take their team to glory.
Before shedding light on the bowlers, two premium Indian bowlers are on the list–in the form of legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble.
Here’s the top ten list of leading Test wicket-takers:
- Muttiah Muralitharan – 800 wickets:
Legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker in Test fold with 800 wickets in 133 Test matches. Known for his remarkable bowling, Muralitharan further instilled fear among the batters with his vicious spin even on the flat pitches.
In 230 Test innings, he sent down 44039 deliveries to concede 17995 runs at an economy of 2.47.
The veteran has bagged 22 ten-wicket hauls, and on 67 occasions he has bagged five wickets in an innings.
The premium off-spinner was eventually then replaced by Rangana Herath in Sri Lankan set-up to spearhead the spin bowling department.
- Shane Warne – 708 wickets:
Shane Warne had given a tough time to the batters during his heydays. Be it his ball of the century during the 1993 Ashes to Mike Gatting or his flippers mesmerizing the batsmen; he was a pure class.
The veteran Australian gave enough for his die-hard fans to cherish.
Listed second on the leading Test wicket-takers table, Warne claimed 708 Test scalps in 145 Tests. In 273 Test innings, Warne bagged ten ten-wicket hauls and 57 five-wicket hauls.
The decorated cricket conceded 17995 runs off 40705 deliveries.
- Anil Kumble – 619 wickets:
Anil Kumble was known for weaving the web to neutralize the threat of world-class batters and many-a-times he succeeded in his ploy. The Bengaluru-based star did a fantastic job for India with the ball between 1990 and 2008. He bagged 619 wickets in 132 Tests.
Kumble featured in 236 Test innings in which he bowled 40850 deliveries to give away 18355 runs at an impressive economy of 2.65. He has claimed ten wickets on eight occasions and 35 five-wicket hauls.
He leads the Test bowling charts with most Test wickets in India.
- James Anderson – 565 wickets:
England’s most-trusted bowler James Anderson has delivered big with his sheer hard work over the years. Anderson formed a vital pair alongside Broad to keep opponents under check.
Known for his accuracy, Anderson troubled batters with the new-ball before yielding results with the old cherry.
The experienced campaigner for Three Lions has bagged 565 wickets in 145 Tests. In 271 Test innings with the ball, Anderson has also claimed 26 five-wicket hauls and three ten-wicket hauls.
Owing to the overcast conditions, swing king Anderson becomes more lethal with the ball in hand. Overall, he gave away 15245 runs off 31746 balls. His economy reads as 2.88.
- Glenn McGrath – 563 wickets:
Over the years, Australian National Cricket Team star bowler Glenn McGrath has ruled the roost while donning the whites. He disguised the slower-ball well to deceive batting giants.
Moreover, the wily customer had spread-headed Australia’s pace attack while nursing his young bowling partners. Contrarily, McGrath represented the Kangaroos between 1993 and 2007; he bagged 563 wickets in 124 Tests for the Kangaroos.
With his best bowling figures of eight for 24, McGrath claimed 29 five-fors and three ten-wicket hauls.
In addition to, McGrath has bowled 29248 deliveries to give away 12186 runs at an economy of just 249.
- Courtney Walsh – 519 wickets:
However, Walsh backed his strength while learning the traits of fast bowling during his early days of his international career. Eventually, it helped him to become the household name in the gentleman’s game cricket.
Walsh represented the Caribbean team in 132 Tests. He claimed 519 Test wickets at an average of 24.44.
Moreover, Walsh has 22 five-wicket hauls to his name. He also managed to clinch three ten-fors. Also, Walsh gave away 12688 runs off 30019 balls.
- Kapil Dev – 434 wickets:
Legendary Team India all-rounder Kapil Dev is second on the top ten list of most wicket takers after Anil Kumble.
A medium pacer in the form of Dev won games for India with his sensational bowling during his Test stint. While representing India between 1978 and 1994, Dev played 131 Tests to bag 434 wickets in 227 innings.
While having his economy of 2.78, Dev bowled 27740 deliveries to concede 12867 runs. Also, he has 23 five-fors and two ten-wicket hauls to his name.
- Rangana Herath – 433 wickets:
The remarkable bowler in the form of Rangana Herath has recently announced his retirement. However, his departure came to an end on a pretty sad note with Sri Lanka losing against England at Galle, for the very first time. But Herath has done enough for his country with the ball in his hand.
The 40-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner Herath played a significant role for the Sri Lankan National Team. He not only filled the void left by Muralitharan’s retirement but at the same time, set his name into the record books.
From the banker to the cricketer, Herath has acclaimed the praise for his nonchalant approach.
While representing the Island Nation for over 19 years, Herath featured in 93 Tests in which he bagged 433 wickets at an average of 29.64. He has 34 five-fors and nine ten-wicket hauls to his name.
During his entire Test career, Herath sent down 25993 deliveries which eventually saw him conceding 12157 runs.
- Stuart Broad – 433 wickets:
As a fast bowler, Stuart Broad might not have succeeded in the early days of his international career, but his determination and passion have kept him in the game to excel.
The pacemen Broad has bagged 433 Test scalps in 124 Tests. Since making his Test debut in 2007, Broad featured in 227 Test innings which further saw him claiming 16 five-wicket hauls and two ten-fors.
The lanky fast bowler from England has extracted the bounce from distinct surfaces to spring a surprise for the world-class batsmen.
Meanwhile, Broad has plenty of work to do with the red ball in his hand, for the Three Lions in the coming years.
- Richard Hadlee – 421 wickets:
Known for mastering the art of swing bowling, the former New Zealand National Cricket Team bowler Richard Hadlee has carried the bowling burden on his shoulders. The veteran Kiwis cricketer had a massive impact on the game while exhibiting his remarkable skills with the cherry in hand.
Hadlee, who’s now suffering from the bowel cancer had bamboozled the batters during his international career.
In 86 Tests, Hadlee had bagged 431 wickets at an average of 22.29. He further claimed 36 five-fors and nine ten-wicket hauls. He gave away 9611 runs off 21918 deliveries at an economy of 2.63.
Table for the leading Test wicket-takers:
|1||M Muralitharan (ICC/SL)||133||230||800||22.72||2.47||67||22|
|2||SK Warne (AUS)||145||273||708||25.41||2.65||37||10|
|3||A Kumble (INDIA)||132||236||619||29.65||2.69||35||8|
|4||JM Anderson (ENG)||145||271||565||26.98||2.88||26||3|
|5||GD McGrath (AUS)||124||243||563||21.64||2.49||29||3|
|6||CA Walsh (WI)||132||242||519||24.44||2.53||22||3|
|7||N Kapil Dev (INDIA)||131||227||434||29.64||2.78||23||2|
|8||HMRKB Herath (SL)||93||170||433||28.07||2.8||34||9|
|9||SCJ Broad (ENG)||124||227||433||29.04||2.97||16||2|
|10||Sir RJ Hadlee (NZ)||86||150||431||22.29||2.63||36||9|
|11||DW Steyn (SA)||88||161||421||22.64||3.23||26||5|
|12||SM Pollock (SA)||108||202||421||23.11||2.39||16||1|
|13||Harbhajan Singh (INDIA)||103||190||417||32.46||2.84||25||5|
|14||Wasim Akram (PAK)||104||181||414||23.62||2.59||25||5|
|15||CEL Ambrose (WI)||98||179||405||20.99||2.3||22||3|
|16||M Ntini (SA)||101||190||390||28.82||3.23||18||4|
|17||IT Botham (ENG)||102||168||383||28.4||2.99||27||4|
|18||MD Marshall (WI)||81||151||376||20.94||2.68||22||4|
|19||Waqar Younis (PAK)||87||154||373||23.56||3.25||22||5|
|20||Imran Khan (PAK)||88||142||362||22.81||2.54||23||6|
|21||DL Vettori (ICC/NZ)||113||187||362||34.36||2.59||20||3|
|22||DK Lillee (AUS)||70||132||355||23.92||2.75||23||7|
|23||WPUJC Vaas (SL)||111||194||355||29.58||2.68||12||2|
|24||R Ashwin (INDIA)||65||122||342||25.43||2.84||26||7|
|25||NM Lyon (AUS)||82||157||334||31.6||3.04||14||2|
|26||AA Donald (SA)||72||129||330||22.25||2.83||20||3|
|27||RGD Willis (ENG)||90||165||325||25.2||2.83||16||0|
|28||MG Johnson (AUS)||73||140||313||28.4||3.33||12||3|
|29||Z Khan (INDIA)||92||165||311||32.94||3.27||11||1|
|30||B Lee (AUS)||76||150||310||30.81||3.46||10||0|
|31||M Morkel (SA)||86||160||309||27.66||3.1||8||0|
|32||LR Gibbs (WI)||79||148||309||29.09||1.98||18||2|
|33||FS Trueman (ENG)||67||127||307||21.57||2.61||17||3|
|34||DL Underwood (ENG)||86||151||297||25.83||2.1||17||6|
|35||JH Kallis (ICC/SA)||166||272||292||32.65||2.82||5||0|
|36||CJ McDermott (AUS)||71||124||291||28.63||3.01||14||2|
|37||BS Bedi (INDIA)||67||118||266||28.71||2.14||14||1|
|38||I Sharma (INDIA)||89||159||264||34.37||3.19||8||1|
|39||Danish Kaneria (PAK)||61||112||261||34.79||3.07||15||2|
|40||J Garner (WI)||58||111||259||20.97||2.47||7||0|
|41||JN Gillespie (AUS)||71||137||259||26.13||2.85||8||0|
|42||GP Swann (ENG)||60||109||255||29.96||2.98||17||3|
|43||JB Statham (ENG)||70||129||252||24.84||2.33||9||1|
|44||MA Holding (WI)||60||113||249||23.68||2.79||13||2|
|45||R Benaud (AUS)||63||116||248||27.03||2.1||16||1|
|46||MJ Hoggard (ENG)||67||122||248||30.5||3.26||7||1|
|47||GD McKenzie (AUS)||60||113||246||29.78||2.48||16||3|
|48||BS Chandrasekhar (INDIA)||58||97||242||29.74||2.7||16||2|
|49||AV Bedser (ENG)||51||92||236||24.89||2.21||15||5|
|50||J Srinath (INDIA)||67||121||236||30.49||2.85||10||1|
|51||Abdul Qadir (PAK)||67||111||236||32.8||2.71||15||5|
|52||GS Sobers (WI)||93||159||235||34.03||2.22||6||0|
|53||AR Caddick (ENG)||62||105||234||29.91||3.09||13||1|
|54||CS Martin (NZ)||71||126||233||33.81||3.37||10||1|
|55||TG Southee (NZ)||62||115||232||30.16||3.02||8||1|
|56||D Gough (ENG)||58||95||229||28.39||3.3||9||0|
|57||RR Lindwall (AUS)||61||113||228||23.03||2.3||12||0|
|58||SJ Harmison (ENG/ICC)||63||115||226||31.82||3.22||8||1|
|59||A Flintoff (ENG/ICC)||79||137||226||32.78||2.97||3||0|
|60||TA Boult (NZ)||58||109||224||28.54||2.96||6||1|
|61||CL Cairns (NZ)||62||104||218||29.4||3.28||13||1|
|62||CV Grimmett (AUS)||37||67||216||24.21||2.16||21||7|
|63||HH Streak (ZIM)||65||102||216||28.14||2.69||7||0|
|64||PM Siddle (AUS)||64||120||214||30.28||2.91||8||0|
|65||MG Hughes (AUS)||53||97||212||28.38||2.93||7||1|
|66||SCG MacGill (AUS)||44||85||208||29.02||3.22||12||2|
|67||Saqlain Mushtaq (PAK)||49||86||208||29.83||2.64||13||3|
|68||VD Philander (SA)||55||103||205||21.54||2.65||13||2|
|69||Shakib Al Hasan (BDESH)||55||93||205||31.29||3.01||18||2|
|70||AME Roberts (WI)||47||90||202||25.61||2.78||11||2|
|71||JA Snow (ENG)||49||93||202||26.66||2.68||8||1|
|72||Yasir Shah (PAK)||33||64||202||28.26||3.08||16||3|
|73||JR Thomson (AUS)||51||90||200||28||3.18||8||0|
*The stats (of most Test wickets) were updated on December 23, 2018.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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