If the limited-overs-game is batting-dominated, it can be safely assumed that Test cricket is a battleground for bowlers, where batsmen have to negotiate them for long periods of time.
In Test cricket, a bowler can afford to attack more, with attacking fields, and conditions assisting them. Further, since time immemorial, it is the bowlers who help sides win games by taking 20 wickets.
Therefore, bowlers have been indispensable when it comes to red-ball cricket. Today, let’s have a look at the leading wicket-takers in Tests.
5. Glenn McGrath – 563 wickets
The ‘Pigeon’ through his nagging line and lengths caused havoc in the opposition camp. McGrath is the fifth-highest wicket-taker and second overall amongst pacers in Tests. The Australian bowling spearhead for over a decade has scalped 29 five-wicket hauls, with a best of 8/24.
Greats in batting department rate McGrath highly owing to his discipline and challenging fifth stump line which trouble event the greatest of batsmen.
4. Jimmy Anderson – 584 wickets
England’s James Anderson is a modern great with a whopping tally of 584 Test wickets and counting. Anderson’s swing and seam movements have challenged even the greatest of the greats. In the 2014 England tour of India, he made Virat Kohli is bunny by troubling him outside the off-stump.
Anderson is the leading wicket-taker in Test amongst pacers. In tandem with Stuart Broad at the other end, England built a fortress at conditions at home with the duo picking up over a 1000 Test wickets.
3. Anil Kumble – 619 wickets
Anil Kumble provided India with breakthrough whenever they needed them the most. Kumble had the capacity of running through tail-enders and breaking dangerous partnership.
The third-highest wicket-taker in Tests, Kumble was a phenomenon in the subcontinental conditions. With as many as 35 five-wicket hauls and best figures of 10/72 against Pakistan, Kumble is one of the greatest spinners the game witnessed. Also, there have been eight instances when Kumble ended up with more than ten wickets in a Test match.
2. Shane Warne – 708 wickets
After Kumble, the second most number of Test wickets belong to Warne, made batsmen dance to his tunes with his spin and drift.
Warne has 37 fifers to his name and crossed ten wickets tally in a match on ten occasions. The spin wizard is the best leg spinner in the game, thus far.
1. Muttiah Muralitharan – 800 wickets
The famous ‘Warne vs Muralitharan’ race was won by the latter as he ended up with an astronomical tally of 800 wickets in Test cricket.
The reason why Muralitharan was a proven matchwinner was due to his ability to win games single-handedly. His records speak volume of his impact – 67 five-wicket hauls and an outrageous 22 ten-wickets in match feat.
It would take a herculean effort from any bowler to surpass Murali’s tally of 800 wickets, and topple his record of the leading wicket-taker in Tests.