Fastest 800 Wickets in Test
On July 22, 2010, legendary Sri Lankan off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan bid goodbye to Test cricket after reaching the coveted 800-wicket mark in his 133rd match. He achieved the arguably unbeatable milestone when he had India’s number 11 batsman Pragyan Ojha caught in the slips by Mahela Jayewardene. That ball was Muralitharan’s last ball in Test cricket. With his 800th wicket in Tests, the bowler helped his side to an innings win against India, in the first match of a series in Galle.
Playing ‘Catch Up’ with Warne
Throughout his career, Muralitharan played catching up with Australian leg spinner. While Warne got to 100 Test wickets in fewer matches than Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan got to 200 Test wickets in 42 matches, the same number as Warne. Thereafter, Murali became progressively faster than Warne in the rate of wickets taken. He became the third fastest bowler to achieve 300 wickets in Tests but went on to achieve 400, 500, 600, and 700 wickets in the fewest matches among bowlers.
When West Indian fast bowler Courtney Walsh retired from Test cricket in 2004, he held the record of 519 for the most Test wickets. Muralitharan overwhelmed the mark, only to be overtaken by Warne after a shoulder injury kept the Sri Lanka out of the game in the latter half of 2004. For the rest of his career, Warne stayed ahead of Muralitharan until the Australian retired in 2007 with 708 wickets from 145 Tests.
Murali got past Warne in his 116th match, and never looked back until he reached his monumental achievement of 800 Test wickets in 2010. Though Muralitharan quit Test cricket, he went on playing ODI matches for Sri Lanka until 2 April 2011, the day of the 2011 world cup final between India and Sri Lanka in Mumbai. Murali has also taken the most wickets in ODI cricket, with 534 wickets at 23.08 from 350 matches.
With 22 10-wicket match hauls, the Sri Lankan legend also holds the record for the most 10-wicket match hauls in Test matches having achieved the feat on 22 occasions. No other player has registered 10-wicket match hauls versus every Test-playing side.
When he ended his Test career, his statistics made fascinating reading. He had played 133 Tests, in which he snared 800 victims at an average of 22.72. He had registered 5-wickets innings hauls on 67 occasions, with best innings bowling figures of 9/51. He had also taken 10 wickets or more in 22 Tests, with best returns of 16/220.
|350 wickets||66||6 September 2001|
|400 wickets||72||28 August 2002|
|450 wickets||80||3 May 2003|
|500 wickets||87||16 March 2004|
|600 wickets||101||8 March 2006|
|700 wickets||113||11 July 2007|
|750 wickets||122||13 July 2008|
|800 wickets||133||18 July 2010|