England’s James Anderson and Stuart Broad crossed yet another milestone in their long and distinguished partnership, surpassing Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath’s record of taking the most wickets in Test cricket by a bowling pair.
The performance of both veterans in the first Test of the England tour of New Zealand showed that both players have adapted to the new “Bazball” approach of the visitors quite well and will be a part of England’s red-ball future for the next few years.
England, led by Ben Stokes, crushed the Black Caps by a 267-run margin in the first Test and are all set to add another series victory under their belt. The huge victory is partly attributed to the effectiveness of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who picked up 12 wickets across both innings.
With the veteran English bowlers looking to further their record in Test cricket, here’s a look at the top bowling pairs in the longest format of the game.
#5: Mitchell Starc & Nathan Lyon
Australia’s bowling unit is one of the primary reasons for their dominance of the game across all formats, with the likes of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, and Nathan Lyon stepping up for the Aussies wherever they go.
While it is not a partnership in the traditional sense, the duo of Mitchell Starc & Nathan Lyon hold the record for the most wickets in a partnership by current Australian bowlers, taking 580 scalps in 73 Tests that they have played together.
With 468 wickets to his name, Nathan Lyon has been Australia’s go-to spinner for much of the last decade. Nathan Lyon had the difficult job of filling the legendary Shane Warne’s shoes in the Australian team and his records show that he has done so quite effectively.
Nathan Lyon’s statistics both at home and abroad are terrific, with the 35-year-old claiming 238 wickets on home soil and a further 42 wickets in India.
Mitchell Starc is known more for his effectiveness in limited-overs cricket, but the 33-year-old is also a regular feature in Test cricket.
In 75 Tests he was a part of, Mitchell Starc picked up 304 wickets with his raw pace stumping many batsmen around the world. With the Ashes coming up this summer, the duo of Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon will have a busy job on the field.
#4: Curtly Ambrose & Courtney Walsh
The legendary duo of Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh were responsible for the dominance of the West Indies on the world stage throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Widely regarded as all-time greats, both bowlers dominated the bowler rankings, claiming the top two spots for much of their careers. The duo played 95 Tests together for the Windies, taking 762 wickets.
Curtly Ambrose was known for his economical bowling and brilliant average. In 98 Test matches for West Indies, he claimed 405 Test wickets at an average of 20.99.
With his tall stature and high accuracy, Curtly Ambrose was feared by all the batsmen of his era with the high bounce of his balls terrifying the players. Courtney Walsh had a longer career than his counterpart, picking up 512 wickets in 132 Tests for the West Indies team.
#3: Muttiah Muralitharan & Chaminda Vaas
Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas are the only players from the subcontinent to feature in this list with the Sri Lankan pair picking up a combined 895 wickets in 95 Tests.
Over a 15-year period, Muralitharan and Vaas were a core part of a world-conquering Sri Lankan team, which featured the likes of Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara.
Muralitharan holds the record for the most number of wickets in Test cricket by any bowler – ending his career with a whopping 800 wickets from 133 Tests. His record is unlikely to be broken any time soon with the modern-day schedules reducing the longevity of bowlers.
Vaas played a supporting role to Muralitharan for much of his career, picking up 355 wickets in 111 games in his career. His accuracy and swing made him one of the most effective medium-pace bowlers in history and have earned him numerous records in ODI cricket as well.
#2: Shane Warne & Glenn McGrath
The duo of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath held the record for most wickets in partnership until last week, with the Australian duo picking up a combined 1001 wickets in 104 Tests.
Both Warne and McGrath belonged to Australia’s Golden Generation under the captaincies of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. The Australians were unbeatable throughout the 2000s as they dominated Test cricket around the world apart from picking up three World Cups in a row.
Shane Warne picked up 708 wickets in 145 Tests for Australia, etching his name into the history books as one of the greatest players to grace the game. Known for his mastery of the ball, Shane Warne revolutionised the sport by bringing the leg-spin back into popularity.
Glenn McGrath, known for his accurate line and length, picked up 563 wickets in 124 Tests – boasting a brilliant average of 21.64.
Apart from their on-field partnership, both players are known for their off-field activities, actively contributing to various causes surrounding the game.
#1: James Anderson & Stuart Broad
James Anderson and Stuart Broad entered the first Test against New Zealand with 997 wickets between them – just four short of the all-time record. They now have a combined 1,009 wickets in 133 Tests they played together for England.
The sheer longevity of the two veterans is astonishing. James Anderson is only behind Sachin Tendulkar in the number of Tests played, while Stuart Broad is second in the list of active players with the most Tests.
Anderson is undoubtedly the greatest swing bowler in Test history with 682 wickets to his name in 178 Tests. The upcoming Ashes series between Australia and England might finally allow him to break Shane Warne’s record of 708 wickets in the format – a fitting end to the veteran’s career.
Broad, while flying under the radar, has slowly surpassed milestone after milestone in Test cricket – picking up 571 wickets for the Three Lions in 160 Tests.
While the veteran duo’s age and England’s lack of alternatives often lead to controversies surrounding their inclusion, both James Anderson and Stuart Broad continue to deliver on the field.
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