(estimated 4 minute read time)

In recent history, cricket fans have witnessed some of the finest Test Match bowling. From the pace and ferocity of the great West Indies team of the 70s to the lethal Australian spin and pace combination of Warne and McGrath in the 90s, there have been some stellar names that have struck fear into opposition batsmen.

Test Match bowling is a fine art – strategic, attritional and a true battle with the batsmen, taking wickets in the longest format of the game is the ultimate challenge for any bowler. So, with the international season looming and an Ashes series with Australia to look forward to, we took a look at the top 10 greatest Test Match wicket-takers of all time (stats correct as of 19.05.23).

1. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) – 800 wickets:

Muttiah Muralitharan, a Sri Lankan off-spinner, is the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket history. He achieved this feat during his career from 1992 to 2010, with an incredible bowling average of 22.72. Capable of delivering accurate, marathon spells of spin bowling wizardry time and time again, Murali was the go-to man for no less than half a dozen Sri Lankan captains.

Credit: Sri Lanka Cricket – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI4TIzqA2So


2. Shane Warne (Australia) – 708 wickets:

Shane Warne, an Australian leg-spinner, might be one of the most famous bowlers in history, and many people regard him as one of the greatest. He played from 1992 to 2007 and had a bowling average of 25.41. Warne bowled “the ball of the century” during The Ashes in 1993 at Old Trafford and will forever be remembered for his talent and character.

Credit: England & Wales Cricket Board – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16mudGUYsBw

3. James Anderson (England) – 685* wickets:

England’s James Anderson is the highest wicket-taker among fast bowlers in Test cricket. He made his debut in 2003 and since then has achieved an impressive bowling average of 26. Can he overtake Aussie legend Shane Warne during The Ashes in 2023?

England Test Match Cricket


4. Anil Kumble (India) – 619 wickets:

Anil Kumble, an Indian leg-spinner, was known for his accuracy and consistency. He played from 1990 to 2008 and finished his career with an average of 29.65. Fortitude and desire lay at the heart of Kumble’s game, but with a googly that could befuddle the smartest of batsmen, he was able to hone his skills and become one of India’s greatest.

Credit: cricket.com.au – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fvPhSb6L7o

5. Stuart Broad (England) – 576* wickets:

Beginning his Test Match career in 2007, English fast bowler Stuart Broad has become one of the most feared, with an average of 27.74. He has often worked in tandem with James Anderson, taking a staggering number of wickets between them.

Credit: England & Wales Cricket Board – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY0Ym30X5GU

6. Glenn McGrath (Australia) – 563 wickets:

Glenn McGrath, an Australian fast bowler, was known for his line and length, which made him a consistent wicket-taker. His partnership with Shane Warne is to this day, one of the most devastating bowling combinations in cricket history. McGrath played from 1993 to 2007 and retired with an average of 21.64.

Credit: England & Wales Cricket Board – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEI3ZU3p_XM

7. Courtney Walsh (West Indies) – 519 wickets:

Courtney Walsh, a former West Indian fast bowler, was highly respected for his longevity, sheer pace, and accuracy. His fast-bowling partnership with Curtly Ambrose was one of the most aggressive and intimidating ever witnessed on a cricket pitch. He played from 1984 to 2001 and had an average of 24.44.

Credit: Windies Cricket – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C_7oIKR8bQ

8. Nathan Lyon (Australia) – 482* wickets:

Making his debut in 2011, Nathan Lyon has become Australia’s best spin bowler since the late, great Shane Warne. Averaging 31, the man nicknamed “Garry” is known for his tenacity and drive and has often been the difference maker for Australia.

Credit: cricket.com.au – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe-KbtmNwlQ

9. Ravichandran Ashwin (India) – 474* wickets:

Known for his variety of delivery and acute knowledge of his craft, Indian spinner Ashwin made his debut in 2011 and has been picking off opposition wickets ever since. In an era of Indian bowlers that has included Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja, Ashwin has an average of just 23.93 and has surpassed them all.

Credit: Star Sports – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2IqXfDm2cU

10. Dale Steyn (South Africa) – 439 wickets:

Fast bowlers don’t come much more confrontational and hostile than the Proteas Dale Steyn. Fired up every time he had the ball in hand, Steyn possessed extreme pace and ability to swing the ball both ways. Ending his career with an average of just 22.95, Steyn played for South Africa 93 times between 2004 and 2019 and will go down as one of their best ever.

*Denotes still active as of 19.05.23

Next top 10 wicket-takers

Name Wickets
11. Kapil Dev (India) 434
12. Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka) 433
13. Richard Hadlee (New Zealand) 431
14. Shaun Pollock (South Africa) 421
15. Harbhajan Singh (India) 417
16. Wasim Akram (Pakistan) 414
17. Curtly Ambrose (West Indies) 405
18. Makhaya Ntini (South Africa) 390
19. Ian Botham (England) 383
20. Malcolm Marshall (West Indies) 376


If you’ve loved learning about the highest wicket-takers in history, then discover the best ODI batsmen for England.