Who Is The Highest Wicket Taker In Test Cricket

Top 10 Wicket Takers in Test Cricket: Test cricket is the oldest and longest format of the game, played over 5 days between 2 innings per team. This allows bowlers to showcase their skills over a long period of time and take big hauls of wickets. In this article, we will cover the top 10 wicket takers in the history of test cricket.

10. Richard Hadlee (New Zealand)

The first entry on the list is New Zealand bowling legend Richard Hadlee. Known for his pace and aggressive bowling, Hadlee took 431 wickets in just 86 test matches at an average of 22.29. He was the first bowler to reach 400 test wickets and held the record for most wickets for many years after retirement. Hadlee’s phenomenal bowling skills made him one of the most feared bowlers of his time.

9. Dale Steyn (South Africa)

Considered one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, South Africa’s Dale Steyn takes the 9th spot on this list. His lethal combination of pace, swing and accuracy enabled him to take 439 test wickets at an incredible average of 22.95. Steyn dominated batting lineups around the world with his hostile fast bowling and helped South Africa achieve the no.1 test ranking. He remains one of the best exponents of aggressive fast bowling.

8. Glenn McGrath (Australia)

The metronomic Australian seamer Glenn McGrath occupies 8th position with 563 test wickets. Known for his immaculate line and length, McGrath demolished opposition batting with remarkable consistency throughout his career. His pinpoint accuracy, subtle variations and ability to generate bounce from the surface made him a standout bowler. McGrath’s phenomenal test record made him a central part of Australia’s domination in that era.

7-4. The Indian Spin Quartet

At 7th position is India’s batting nemesis Anil Kumble with 619 test scalps. He is followed by spin wizard Harbhajan Singh at 417 wickets. The legendary Bishan Bedi took 266 while Erapalli Prasanna captured 189 victims. This famed spin quartet bamboozled batting lineups globally with their variations in flight, turn and bounce. Their phenomenal records testify to India’s spin bowling might.

3. Shane Warne (Australia)

The undisputed king of spin, Shane Warne was a cricket magician who mesmerized fans worldwide with his bowling. Warne demolished oppositions with his flippers, googlies and leg-breaks to take 708 test wickets, the second highest ever. His ball of the century that bamboozled Mike Gatting remains etched in cricketing folklore. Shane Warne revived and reinvented the art of leg spin bowling with his genius.

2. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka’sMuttiah Muralitharan is arguably the greatest match-winning bowler of all time. With an unorthodox action and beguiling variations, Muralitharan ran through batting lineups to capture a mammoth 800 test wickets. For many years the highest wicket-taker, Muralitharan bamboozled batsmen globally with his doosras, off-breaks and leg-breaks. His record speaks volumes about his wizardry with the ball.

1. James Anderson (England)

Occupying pole position on this list with 657 wickets is England’s pace spearhead James Anderson. With seam and swing mastery coupled with accuracy and relentlessness, Anderson has demolished batting orders everywhere. At 40, he remains a threatening bowler who relentlessly chips away at opposition batting. His skills have made him England’s highest test wicket taker and one of the game’s enduring bowling superstars.

This brings us to the end of our list of the top 10 wicket takers in the history of test cricket. These bowlers have displayed prodigious skills to run through opposition batting orders over the years. Their superlative records bear testimony to their magnificent bowling abilities that have entralled fans globally and made test cricket an exciting contest between bat and ball.

Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets)

Key stats and achievements

Muttiah Muralitharan is considered by many to be the greatest bowler in Test cricket history. The Sri Lankan off-spinner took a record 800 wickets in Test matches during his illustrious career between 1992 and 2010. Some of Muralitharan’s key stats and achievements are:

Style of bowling and strengths

Muralitharan was an off-break bowler known for his unique bowling action and ability to spin the ball prodigiously. His main strengths were:

Muralitharan had a relatively short run up for a spinner and a round-arm action that generated sharp turn and bounce even on unresponsive pitches. He was quick through the air and could vary his pace, flight and trajectory.

Brief playing career overview

Muralitharan made his Test debut against Australia in 1992. In his first Test series away in New Zealand later that year, he took 5 wickets in an innings 3 times. He was established as Sri Lanka’s premier spinner when they started becoming a major force in the mid-1990s.

Muralitharan was the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket for a decade between 2000-2010. Some of his career highlights include taking 9 wickets for 51 runs against England in 1998, becoming the first to reach 500 and 600 Test wickets and surpassing Courtney Walsh’s record of 519 wickets in 2004. Even as he approached the end of his career, he was still Sri Lanka’s main attacking weapon, often bowling marathon spells of over 40 overs per innings.

After 19 years at the top, Muralitharan retired in 2010 as Test cricket’s highest wicket-taker with 800 scalps. His record tally of wickets seems unlikely to ever be surpassed. He remains an inspiration for aspiring spinners around the world.

Shane Warne (708 wickets)

Key stats and record

Style of bowling and strengths

Brief playing career overview

James Anderson (685 wickets)

Key stats and achievements

James Anderson is England’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, with 685 wickets in 180 matches. He made his Test debut in 2003 and has been a mainstay of the England bowling attack since then.

Some of Anderson’s key stats and achievements are:

Style of bowling and strengths

James Anderson is a right-arm fast-medium bowler known for his skillful swing and seam bowling. He has the ability to make the ball swing both ways which allows him to threaten both edges of the bat.

His key strengths are:

Brief playing career overview

Anderson made his ODI debut for England in 2002 and Test debut in 2003. He was initially inconsistent but became a regular in the Test side after 2007. His breakout performance was the 2009 Ashes in England where he took 24 wickets at 34.

Since 2010, Anderson has been a spearhead of England’s bowling attack across formats. Some highlights:

Anderson will undoubtedly go down as one of the great fast bowlers of Test cricket. His skills, fitness and longevity make him a model fast bowling professional.

Anil Kumble (619 wickets)

Key stats and achievements

Anil Kumble is a legendary Indian cricketer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in Test cricket history. He took 619 wickets in 132 Test matches, which makes him the third-highest wicket taker of all time behind only Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Shane Warne (708).

Some of Kumble’s key stats and achievements in Tests:

Style of bowling and strengths

Kumble was known for his accuracy, bounce and subtle variations in pace. He did not turn the ball much but relied on change of pace, and bounce to trouble batsmen on Indian pitches. His unique bowling action generated good bounce from the surface which made him difficult to play on Indian wickets.

Kumble’s biggest strengths were his accuracy, control over line and length, and ability to out-think batsmen. He had several different deliveries like the topspinner, googly and slider up his sleeve which he used intelligently. His accuracy was phenomenal - he bowled a record 30 consecutive maiden overs in a Test match against England.

Kumble was not a big spinner of the ball but was still able to run through sides because of his impeccable control and ability to pick wickets consistently by changing pace and exploiting conditions.

Brief playing career overview

Kumble made his Test debut for India in 1990 against England. He quickly established himself as India’s premier spinner at home and the successor to Bishan Singh Bedi. Kumble was a match-winner for India with his phenomenal record in India, picking up 350 wickets in just 62 Tests.

He formed a potent spin partnership with Harbhajan Singh as India dominated at home in the 2000s. Some of his best bowling performances came against England, Australia and Pakistan at home. His career-best 10/74 came against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla in 1999.

Kumble captained India briefly in 14 Tests and led India to a series win against Pakistan in 2007 before retiring in 2008. He finished with 619 wickets in 132 Tests at an average of 29.65, establishing himself as one of the all-time bowling greats in Test cricket.

After retirement, Kumble served as head coach of the Indian cricket team for a year and was later the chairman of ICC’s Cricket Committee. He remains actively involved in Indian cricket as a coach, mentor and administrator.

Stuart Broad (582 wickets)

Key stats and achievements

Stuart Broad has established himself as one of England’s greatest fast bowlers in Test cricket history. Since making his debut in 2007, he has taken over 580 wickets and been a stalwart of the England bowling attack. His standout achievements include taking 8 wickets for just 15 runs against Australia in 2015, which is one of the best bowling performances of all time. He also scored a superb 169 with the bat against Pakistan in 2010, showing his all-round capabilities.

Style of bowling and strengths

With the ability to swing and seam the ball both ways, Broad is a challenging bowler for batsmen to face. When conditions suit his style, he can be almost unplayable, as shown by his 19 five-wicket hauls. He has the ability to produce unplayable spells of fast bowling, running through top orders.

Broad’s key strengths are his accuracy, movement off the pitch, and taller height which gives him extra bounce. He has worked tirelessly on his skills over his career and can now seam and swing the ball both ways. His attacking spells of bowling, when he is at his best, can swiftly change the course of a Test match.

Brief playing career overview

After starting as a batting all-rounder, Broad refined his skills to become a skilled fast bowler and has been a mainstay of the England team since 2008. He formed a potent new ball partnership with James Anderson and played a key role in England achieving the number 1 Test ranking in 2011.

Despite some injuries and loss of form at times, Broad has maintained consistency and wicket-taking ability throughout his long career. At the age of 36, he is still performing excellently, taking his 500th Test wicket in 2020. With his skill, experience and knowledge of fast bowling, Broad promises to continue leading England’s bowling attack for a while yet.

Glenn McGrath (563 wickets)

Key stats and achievements

Glenn McGrath is one of the most successful fast bowlers in cricket history. In a career spanning 14 years, McGrath played 124 Test matches and claimed 563 wickets at an average of 21.64. He has the seventh-highest number of wickets in Test cricket.

Some of McGrath’s notable achievements include:

Style of bowling and strengths

McGrath was known for his accuracy, consistency and metronomic line and length. His ability to bowl at a good length just outside off-stump repetitively made him a nightmare for batsmen.

McGrath’s height allowed him to extract bounce from the surface which he coupled with subtle seam movement. He was miserly in giving away runs and built pressure by bowling a lot of dot balls. His nagging accuracy often frustrated batsmen into making mistakes.

Even on flat pitches where there was little help, McGrath kept hitting the corridor of uncertainty and hardly veered from his line and length. He was a fast bowling machine who could keep going all day with the same intensity.

Brief playing career overview

McGrath made his debut for Australia in 1993 and soon became an integral part of the country’s formidable bowling attack. The 1990s to 2000s was a period of Australian cricket dominance, and McGrath’s phenomenal consistency played a major role.

He formed successful bowling partnerships with the likes of Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee. McGrath finished with over 500 wickets in both Tests and ODIs - a phenomenal achievement. He won 3 straight World Cups with Australia from 1999 to 2007, underlining his pedigree as an all-time ODI great.

McGrath retired from cricket in 2007 after a prolific career for Australia during which he carved out a legacy as one of the all-time great fast bowlers. His accuracy, discipline and sustained excellence over a long period set him apart.

Courtney Walsh (519 wickets)

Courtney Walsh is a former West Indian cricketer who was one of the greatest fast bowlers in cricket history. He took 519 wickets in 132 Test matches, which was the record for most wickets in Tests until it was broken by Muttiah Muralitharan.

Key stats and records

Style of bowling and strengths

Brief playing career overview

Nathan Lyon (487 wickets)

Key stats and achievements

Nathan Lyon is a veteran Australian off-spin bowler who has taken 487 wickets in 121 Test matches. Some of his key stats and achievements include:

Style of bowling and strengths

Nathan Lyon is known for his orthodox off-spin bowling style. His key strengths include:

Brief playing career overview

Nathan Lyon has been a mainstay in the Australian Test team since making his debut in 2011 against Sri Lanka. Some key highlights:

In summary, Nathan Lyon is an acclaimed off-spinner whose precision, control and ability to take crucial wickets has made him a highly valued member of the Australian Test team.

Ravi Ashwin (474 wickets)

Key stats and achievements

Ravichandran Ashwin made his test debut for India in 2011 and has since gone on to take 474 wickets in 92 test matches at an average of 24.56 (as of October 2023). He is known for his variations and accuracy as an off-spinner and has taken 32 five-wicket hauls and 7 ten-wicket hauls in tests so far. Some of Ashwin’s key stats and achievements are:

Style of bowling and strengths

Ashwin is an off-break bowler who relies on varying his pace, trajectory and length to outfox batsmen. He has a number of variations in his bowling arsenal:

His main strengths are his ability to extract bounce and dip on spinning tracks in India and his accuracy in landing the ball consistently. He uses his variations wisely to keep batsmen guessing and has a great cricketing brain.

Brief playing career overview

Since his debut in 2011, Ashwin has been India’s leading spinner in tests and one of the mainstays of the team’s bowling attack. He made an immediate impact taking nine wickets on debut against West Indies.

He was instrumental in helping India ascend to the number one ranking in tests in late 2016 with consistently good performances abroad and at home. Ashwin was the fastest Indian to 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 test wickets.

In the mid 2010s, Ashwin formed a lethal partnership with Ravindra Jadeja to help India dominate in home conditions. He also contributed handy lower order runs with four test centuries.

Ashwin is the third highest wicket taker for India in tests behind Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble. At just 36 years of age, he has several years left in his career to further enhance his wicket tally and cement his legacy as one of India’s greatest ever match-winning spinners.

Dale Steyn (439 wickets)

Key stats and achievements

Dale Steyn is considered one of the best fast bowlers of his generation with his ability to swing the ball at high pace. Some of his key stats and achievements in Test cricket include:

Style of bowling and strengths

With raw pace, accuracy and ability to make the ball swing both ways, Dale Steyn was South Africa’s premier fast bowling weapon for many years. His key strengths included:

Steyn’s controlled swing at high pace made him a formidable bowler even on unresponsive pitches. He had the complete skillset required for success in Test cricket.

Brief playing career overview

Dale Steyn made his Test debut for South Africa in 2004 against England and quickly established himself as their strike bowler. At his peak from 2007 to 2014, Steyn was the number 1 ranked Test bowler in ICC rankings for over 6 years.

He was instrumental in many of South Africa’s Test wins at home and abroad, often running through batting lineups with his lethal pace and swing. His career highlights include a ten wicket haul against Pakistan in 2013, 7 wickets in an innings against India at home in 2010 and a match winning 5-wicket haul to beat Australia in Melbourne 2008.

Despite struggles with frequent injuries in the later part of his career, Steyn retired in 2019 after 93 Tests with 439 wickets at an average of 22.95. He led South Africa’s pace bowling attack that was regarded as one of the best in the world during his prime years. Steyn is undoubtedly one of the all-time great fast bowlers of Test cricket history.


Test cricket, with its emphasis on sustained bowling excellence, has produced some of the greatest bowlers the game has ever seen. The illustrious names on this list of top 10 wicket takers in Test cricket have all etched their names into cricketing folklore through their prodigious wicket-taking feats over the years. Their skill, guile, and at times raw pace, have demolished batting lineups and won matches for their countries. These bowling stalwarts displayed remarkable consistency and longevity at the highest level, resulting in staggering career wicket tallies that may never be surpassed. Their exploits revived and redefined the art of bowling, and will continue inspiring future generations of cricketers. The spectacular performances of these bowling legends have provided Test cricket with some of its most gripping contests, and enshrined their names in cricket’s pantheon. They will forever be remembered as among the greatest masters of bowling that Test cricket has ever witnessed.

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