Fastest 150 Wickets in Test Cricket
In this article, we look at the record for the fastest 150 wickets in Test cricket. The mark was set by England’s Sid Barnes who accomplished the feat in 24 matches on 13 January 1901. Nearly 93 years later that Waqar Younis came closest to equaling the record when he achieved the feat in 27 matches.
1. SF Barnes (24 Matches)
England right-arm medium pace bowler Sid Barnes played his first Test match on 13 December 1901 versus Australia in Sydney. He took 5/65 and 1/74 in that game and followed up with returns of 6/42 and 7/121 in the next match in Melbourne. He had several more five-wicket hauls thereafter. He got to the 150-wicket mark during the 1st Test of a series versus South Africa in Durban. Barnes took 5/57 in the first innings to help dismiss the hosts for 182. He followed it up with 5/48 in SA’s second innings which lasted only 111 runs. Overall, Barnes played 27 Tests in which he took 189 wickets at 16.43, with best bowling figures in an innings of 9/103. During his successful career, he had 24 five-wicket innings hauls and 7 10-wicket returns.
2. Waqar Younis (27 Matches)
Former Pakistani fast bowling legend Waqar Younis played his first Test match against India in Karachi on 15 November 1989. Younis came closest to Barnes’s record, taking his 150th wicket in his 27th match. It was a quiet start to his career in which he returned figures of 4/80 in India’s first innings but went wicketless in the second. But as his career wore on, Younis developed into one of the greatest swing bowlers with a lethal weapon in the form of a toe-cutting yorker. He was one of the first exponents of reverse swing. When he retired in 2003, Younis had played 87 matches in which he took 373 wickets at 23.56, with 22 five-wicket innings hauls and 5 10-wicket match hauls. He registered best bowling figures of 7/76.
3. Yasir Shah (27 Matches)
Pakistan’s leg-break bowler Yasir Shah began his Test career versus Australia on 22 October 2014. Shah became joint second fastest to 150 wickets by achieving the mark in 27 matches.
Shah, who is still active in international cricket, also holds the record for the fastest 200 Test wickets which he achieved in his 33rd match.
Shah has so far grabbed 235 wickets at 31.08 in 46 matches including 16 fifers and 3 ten-wicket hauls. He has registered best bowling figures (in an innings) of 8/41.
4. CV Grimmett (28 Matches)
Former Australian leg-break googly bowler Clarrie Grimmett achieved the 150-wicket mark in 28 Tests. Grimmett, who is accredited with inventing the flipper, began playing Test cricket versus England in Sydney on 27 February 1925. Grimmett had a sensational start to his Test career, with figures of 5/45, 6/37, and 5/88 in his first three innings as a bowler. In 37 Tests, Grimmett took 216 wickets at 24.21, with 21 five-wicket hauls and 7 10-wicket hauls. He had best bowling figures (in an innings) of 7/40.
5. HJ Tayfield (29 Matches)
Former South Africa right-arm off-break bowler Tayfield played his first Test on 24 December 1949 versus Australia in Johannesburg. Tayfield accomplished the 150-wicket mark in his 29th match. In 37 Tests, Tayfield took 170 wickets at 25.91, including 14 fifers, and 2 ten-wicket hauls. He registered best bowling figures (in an innings) of 9/113.
Several other bowlers – England fast bowling all-rounder Ian Botham, Pakistani spinner Saeed Ajmal, South African pacer Dale Steyn, and India off-spinner Ravi Ashwin also achieved 150 wickets in 29 matches. However, Tayfield was the earliest among the lot to achieve the feat.
The latest to reach the mark was India pacer Umesh Yadav who achieved the feat in his 49th match. Another Indian paceman Jasprit Bumrah who recently became the fastest Indian bowler to 100 Test wickets has taken 113 wickets in 27 matches. Can Barnes’ record be broken? If so, who can do it? Pakistan fast bowler Hasan Ali has taken 72 wickets in 17 matches. To equal Barnes’s mark, he would have to take 78 wickets in his next 7 games. In other words, he will need to average 11 wickets a match for 7 games in a row. That is easier said than done. Another potential candidate is New Zealand’s KA Jamieson who, in November 2021, took his 50th Test scalp in his 9th match. The Kiwi pacer would need to take 100 wickets in his next 15 matches in order to equal Barnes’s record. While that will not be easy to achieve, it is definitely doable. It will be interesting to see whether Jamieson’ lives up to his potential.
|SF Barnes||England||24||13 December 1913||South Africa||Durban|
|Waqar Younis||Pakistan||27||10 February 1994||New Zealand||Auckland|
|Yasir Shah||Pakistan||27||28 September 2017||Sri Lanka||Abu Dhabi|
|CV Grimmett||Australia||28||8 June 1934||England||Nottingham|
|HJ Tayfield||South Africa||29||31 December 1957||Australia||Cape Town|
|IT Botham||England||29||24 July 1980||West Indies||The Oval|
|DW Steyn||South Africa||29||26 December 2008||Australia||Melbourne|
|Saeed Ajmal||Pakistan||29||14 October 2013||South Africa||Abu Dhabi|
|R Ashwin||India||29||5 November 2015||South Africa||Mohali|
|DK Lillee||Australia||31||25 February 1977||New Zealand||Auckland|
|SK Warne||Australia||31||24 December 1994||England||Melbourne|
|SCG MacGill||Australia||31||8 March 2004||Sri Lanka||Galle|
|K Rabada||South Africa||31||12 July 2018||Sri Lanka||Galle|
|PJ Cummins||Australia||31||17 December 2020||India||Adelaide|