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The 10 Greatest Test Bowlers

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Vijay Raman

date post

Jul 02, 2024

The 10 Greatest Test Bowlers

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In Test cricket, bowlers are the ones who can help the team win games. A team with a strong bowling unit dominates the proceedings, giving their batters that much less pressure.

A strong mind is needed to be a bowler, apart from being skilful, because one needs to be in the face of a batsman for a prolonged period of time. So here in this article, we will talk about the bowlers who have seen and done marvellous things in Test cricket.

Here are the 10 greatest Test bowlers of the modern era.

 

Muttiah Muralitharan

Muralitharan is arguably the greatest spinner of all time, and he stands at the top of the peril as the leading wicket-taker in the Test. The Sri Lankan legend has taken 800 wickets in the longest format of the game, and it came at an average of 22.73 in 133 matches.

He took five-wicket hauls in Tests a whopping 67 times, and out of 800 wickets, 307 came away from Lanka shores. Murali has a sub-20 bowling average in both England (48) and New Zealand (30), which is phenomenal for a visiting spinner.

 

Shane Warne

Another spinner who has earned the right to be called the greatest is Australia’s Shane Warne. The legendary leg spinner is the second-highest wicket-taker in Tests, only behind Muralitharan, and he ended up playing 145 games, maintaining an incredible average of 25.41 while picking up 708 wickets.

The key thing to note is he played most of his games in Australia (69), a country not known to aid spinners. He took 319 wickets in his homeland and 129 in England with a sub-22 average, making it even better. Overall, he is a spinner par excellence and one of the greatest ever to grace the game.

 

James Anderson

We have seen batters play for 20 or more years at the highest level, but the first thing we remember while talking about Anderson is his longevity and remarkable consistency.

He has played a whopping 187 Tests for England, taking 700 wickets in them. Known for his immaculate line and length, the workhorse of a pacer will play his final Test against West Indies at Lord’s later this year.

 

Glenn McGrath

The Australian legend, much like Anderson, was a consistent bowler who could bowl all day with the same kind of discipline.

The 124-Test veteran took a whopping 563 wickets and what is more stunning is his bowling average of 21.64 despite playing so many games. He fared better in away games (274 wickets in 58 Tests) with an average of 20.81, much less than his career average.

 

Courtney Walsh

Another pacer who had a long Test career was West Indies legend Courtney Walsh. He was part of the fearsome Windies attack of the early 90s and wreaked havoc during his time.

Walsh is the 8th highest wicket-taker with 519 scalps and found success both in the Asian sub-continent as well as in England.

 

Also Read | Types of Spin Bowling in Cricket

 

Ravichandran Ashwin

If a bowler has come close to matching the wicket-taking spree of the great Muralitharan, then it’s India’s Ravichandran Ashwin. He became the second-fastest to scalp 500 wickets in 98 games and has been prolific in Asian conditions.

While he struggled to take a truckload of wickets in SENA countries, his match-winning abilities at home are just sensational.

 

Dale Steyn

Arguably the greatest pacer of the modern generation, the South African legend has left a huge mark in the game of cricket.

In a 15-year Test career, he played 93 games and picked a staggering 439 wickets at a mind-blowing average of just under 23. He was known to generate a lot of pace and prodigious swing, which made him unplayable on occasions.

 

Anil Kumble

Another Indian spinner makes it to the list, and he is none other than the former skipper Anil Kumble. The leggie was one of India’s greatest match-winners during his time, and his tally of 619 wickets in 132 Tests speaks volumes about him.

 

Nathan Lyon

Much like Shane Warne, Nathan Lyon doesn’t usually get enough assistance from pitches back at home, but still, the Aussie off-spinner proved to be prolific.

Along with Ashwin, Lyon has led the off-spin bowling revolution in Test cricket for more than a decade. He has taken over 530 wickets in 120+ Tests he has featured and has been highly effective in subcontinental conditions.

 

Sir Richard Hadlee

The first bowler to take 400 wickets in the format, Sir Richard Hadlee, was as good as any bowler mentioned in the list. In just 86 Tests, he picked up a whopping 431 scalps and was the leading wicket-taker at one point in the game.

Read Next | Top 10 All-Rounders in Indian Cricket History

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