Euro 2020 Special

Stuart Broad Becomes the Fifth Highest Wicket-Taker in Test History

Stuart Broad of England has surpassed the record of Glenn McGrath of Australia to become the fifth most successful Test bowler of all time, and the second on the all-time list when it comes to seamers.

He came into the Third Test against South Africa at the Oval four short of McGrath’s tally of 563 Test victims, but equalled him by taking 4 – 41 in the first innings.

And the historic moment came when he was adjudged to have dismissed the South African captain Dean Elgar in their second innings. Elgar made it easy for the umpire by walking off almost immediately. Had he stood his ground and asked for a review, he would have been reprieved, because ball tracking showed that the delivery was sliding down the leg-side.

However, the decision stood and, for good measure, Broad then took the wickets of Ryan Rickleton and Keshav Maharaj as well to further embellish his figures.

It was all part of another frenetic day at the Oval. Having lost the first day of the match to rain, and then seen the second day cancelled as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it seemed that there was not enough time left in the match to force a result.

But with 17 wickets falling on the first day and 13 on the second, only bad light stopped the English opening pair of Zak Crawley and Alex Lees from knocking off the required runs to seal the series win.

South Africa now need a weather miracle to avoid defeat.


Broad’s test career to date

Broad, who is playing in his 159th Test match, has now taken 566 test wickets at an average of 27.77.

He is now fifth on the all-time list and has also become the second most successful seamer ever, behind team-mate Jimmy Anderson, who has taken his own personal tally to 667 wickets in this match.

Separating them is Indian off-spinner, Anil Kumble, who took 619 wickets in his Test career.

And the list is still headed by two more spinners – the late Australian “leggie” Shane Warne, and Muttiah Muralitharan. Warne took 708 Test wickets in his career, whilst Muralitharan is the only man to retire with 800 to his name.


McGrath has a significantly better average

McGrath has a significantly better average than both Broad in Test match cricket, finishing with 21.64 in his 124 Tests. Indeed, his average is better than anybody else in the top 200 Test match bowlers of all time, a testament to his accuracy and economy.


Broad has a test match hundred to his name

Broad’s father Chris was an opening batter for England (and has since gone on to become an ICC official). And Stuart himself is no mean batter, and once scored 169 for England in a Test against Pakistan at Lord’s.

However, after his nose was broken by a bouncer from Varun Aaron of India, he has never quite been the same when standing at the crease again, and there have been suggestions he is vulnerable to bullying by other fast bowlers.


Figure of controversy

Broad has also not been immune from controversy, and aroused considerable ire among Australian supporters when he refused to walk during an Ashes Test against the Australians at Trent Bridge in 2013. Many of the English press also criticised him, and Broad was later forced to admit that he knew he had hit the ball and had not acted properly.


Recalled to the colours this summer

Both Anderson and Broad were left out of England’s tour of the West Indies this spring, with the selectors arguing that they wanted to give younger men a chance. That decision was heavily criticised at the time especially after England lost the subsequent series.

When Ben Stokes was appointed England Test captain, he made it a pre-condition of the job that the two men were recalled, and his judgment has been fully vindicated as both men have played a significant role in the series win over New Zealand and South Africa (impending) and the fifth Test win over India.

Both, if they can stay fit, can expect to be involved again the next time England play Test cricket, which will be in Pakistan at the start of December.




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