Test cricket is the longest and most traditional format of the game, lasting up to five days, with both teams having two innings each. This format is often seen as the ultimate test of a player’s skills and endurance. Several reasons support the idea that Test cricket is the best format to assess a bowler. Test cricket has witnessed the rise of extraordinary cricketers across generations. Among these legendary players, a few bowlers have etched their names in cricket history. Their ability to dismantle batting line-ups has elevated them to legendary status. In this article, let’s take a look at highest wicket takers in Test Cricket.
Highest wicket takers in Test Cricket
1. Muttiah Muralitharan – 800 Wickets
Sri Lanka’s spin wizard, Muttiah Muralitharan, stands at the top in the list of top wicket takers in Test Cricket. He has an incredible 800 wickets to his name in the longest format of game with a net average of 22.72 and an economy of 2.47. His unorthodox action and the mesmerizing spin made him a threat for batsmen worldwide.
2. Shane Warne – 708 Wickets
Australia’s charismatic leg-spinner, Shane Warne, was a magician on the field and is also the second highest wicket taker in test cricket. With his extravagant leg-breaks and cunning variations, Warne claimed a massive 708 wickets. His ‘Ball of the Century’ to dismiss Mike Gatting in 1993 remains the best ever bowl.
3. James Anderson – 686 Wickets
England’s swing maestro, James Anderson, has been a modern-day marvel and is at the third place in the list of highest wicket taker in test. His mastery over seam and swing has seen him claim 686 wickets and counting. Anderson’s longevity and adaptability in different conditions underline his greatness.
4. Anil Kumble – 619 Wickets
India’s relentless leg-spinner, Anil Kumble, also holds a place in the list of top wicket takers. His accuracy and subtle variations fetched him 619 wickets. Kumble’s ability to thrive on any surface made him a true match-winner for his team.
5. Stuart Broad – 587 Wickets
England’s another fiery pacer, Stuart Broad, has been a force to reckon with. His ability to swing the ball both ways and exploit weaknesses has seen him claim 537 wickets and counting. Broad’s knack for taking crucial wickets has been pivotal for England.
6. Glenn McGrath – 563 Wickets
Here comes another Australian legend in the list of top wicket takers. Australia’s metronomic fast bowler, Glenn McGrath, was a relentless force. His pinpoint accuracy to hit the stumps fetched him 563 wickets. McGrath’s ability to dissect batting line-ups with precision made him a nightmare for batsmen.
7. Courtney Walsh – 519 Wickets
West Indies’ fast bowler, Courtney Walsh with the help of his thunderbolts claimed 519 wickets in the longest format of the game. Walsh’s ability to trouble batsmen with sheer pace and bounce left an indelible mark on the game.
8. Nathan Lyon – 495 Wickets
Australia’s spinner, Nathan Lyon has recently established himself as a maestro of guile and deception. It is quite difficult to get a recognition as a legendary bowler if you are from Australia. Lyon’s crafty spin and ability to outsmart batsmen earned him 495 wickets. Lyon played a crucial role in filling the void left by Shane Warne and remained a linchpin in Australia’s bowling attack.
9. Ravichandran Ashwin – 474 Wickets
India’s legendary all-rounder, Ashwin is also in the list of top wicket takers in Test Cricket. He has already left an indelible mark as an off spinner. Aswhin’s 474 wickets are a testament to his off spin and especially carrom bowling, complemented by his reading of the game on the field.
10. Dale Steyn – 439 Wickets
South Africa’s pace sensation, Dale Steyn, was a relentless force in Test cricket. Known for his express pace, Steyn was a nightmare for batting line-ups and claimed 439 wickets. His ability to generate movement at high speeds made him a feared bowler across all conditions.