Fastest 500 Wickets in Test
In this article, we look at the record for the fastest 500 wickets in Test cricket. Legendary off-spinner M Muralitharan from Sri Lanka set the mark by reaching the milestone in his 87th match. He was, in fact, the first bowler in Test history to reach the mark. Only six other players belong to the exclusive club.
M Muralitharan (87 Matches)
Sri Lankan bowling legend Muthiah Muralitharan was the fastest to 500 Test wickets when he scaled the peak on 16 March 2004 in his 87th match. The off-spinner who debuted on 28 August 1992 got off to a relatively slow start in his career. It took the bowler 27 matches to get to 100 wickets. But he needed only 60 wickets for the next 400. Overall, in 133 Tests, Muralitharan took 800 wickets at 22.72. He took 5 wickets in an innings on 67 occasions, including a best innings haul of 9/51. He also registered 10 wicket hauls in 22 Test matches, including the best match haul of 16/220.
A Kumble (105 Matches)
India’s former leg spinner Anil Kumble played Test cricket between 1990 and 2008. He became the second-fastest to the 500-wicket mark, achieving the milestone in 105 Tests. When Kumble decided to quit Test cricket, he had 619 wickets at 29.65 from 132 matches. The leg spinner registered 35 fifers, including best returns of 10/74 – he became the second bowler after England’s Jim Laker to take 10 wickets in a Test innings when he achieved the feat against Pakistan in Delhi in 1999. Kumble also took 10-wicket match hauls on 8 occasions, including the best returns of 14/149.
SK Warne (108 Matches)
Former Australian leg spinner Shane Warne made his Test debut in 1992 and played until 2007. He achieved the 500-wicket mark in Tests in 108 matches, a feat he could have achieved much earlier than the eventual day in March 2004 but for a one-year ban, he served after failing a drug Test the previous year. Warne retired with 708 wickets at 25.41 to his name in 145 matches. On 37 occasions, he took five wickets in an innings, including the best returns of 8/71. On 10 occasions, the leg spinner registered 10-wicket hauls in matches, with the best returns of 12/128.
GD McGrath (110 Matches)
Former Australian fast bowler Glen McGrath played Test cricket between 1993 and 2007. McGrath got to 500 Test wickets in 110 matches, becoming in the process the fastest new bowler to achieve the feat. McGrath ended up playing 124 matches in which he took 563 wickets. Of the 29 times, he took five-wicket innings hauls, the best returns he accomplished were 8/24. Walsh also managed to take 10 wickets in a match on three occasions, including best figures of 10/27.
CA Walsh (129 Matches)
Former West Indies paceman Courtney Walsh became the first bowler to take 500 Test wickets when he achieved the mark in March 2001. Walsh who began his Test career in November 1984 enjoyed an exceptionally long career until his retirement from the international game in 2001. By the time he ended his career, Walsh had taken 519 wickets at 24.44 in 132 matches. He took fifers on 22 occasions, including best innings figures of 7/37. The West Indian fast bowler also registered 10 wicket match hauls three times, with the best figures of 13/55. In fact, Walsh set a record for the oldest bowler to take 10 wickets in a test match when he was 37.
JM Anderson (129 Matches)
England fast bowler James Anderson like his West Indian counterpart Courtney Walsh needed 129 matches to take 500 Test wickets. Anderson began playing test cricket in 2003 and along with his countryman Stuart Broad is one of only two men on this list who continue to play Test cricket. Anderson has so far played in 169 matches wherein he has snared 640 victims at 26.58. The English fast bowler has taken fifers on 31 occasions, with the best returns of 7/42. He has also registered 10-wicket match hauls on 3 occasions, with the best returns of 11/71.
SCJ Broad (140 Matches)
England’s pace bowler Stuart Broad began playing Test cricket in 2007. Like his teammate Jimmy Anderson, Broad is yet to retire from Test cricket. Broad became the latest bowler to achieve 500 Test wickets when he did so in his 140th match on 24 July 2020. Broad has since played in 152 matches in which he has taken 537 wickets at 27.80. He has registered 5-wicket innings hauls on 19 occasions, including best figures of 8/15. He has also taken 10-wicket hauls in 3 matches, including best match returns of 11/121.
Can any other currently active bowler achieve 500 wickets in Tests? If so, can he beat Muralitharan’s record?
We believe that India’s off-spinner R Ashwin is well set to achieve 500 Test wickets in the foreseeable future. He has so far played 84 Test matches in which he has taken 430 wickets. It would be impossible for Ashwin to break the current record of 87 matches set by Muralitharan. However, we believe that he could certainly try to achieve the milestone in fewer than 105 matches to take the second spot on the list of the fastest to 500 Test wickets, ahead of his countryman Anil Kumble.
|M Muralitharan||Sri Lanka||87||16 March 2004||Australia||Kandy|
|A Kumble||India||105||9 March 2006||England||Mohali|
|SK Warne||Australia||108||8 March 2004||Sri Lanka||Galle|
|GD McGrath||Australia||110||21 July 2005||England||Lord’s|
|CA Walsh||West Indies||129||17 March 2001||South Africa||Port of Spain|
|JM Anderson||England||129||7 September 2017||West Indies||Lord’s|
|SCJ Broad||England||140||24 July 2020||West Indies||Manchester|