StatsIndeedWorld Test Championship

Top 5: Best Bowling Figures in WTC 2021-23 Cycle

As the countdown to the final match of the World Test Championship between Australia and India starts, we are doing a recap of some of the most memorable moments that took place over the course of this 2 years period.

We recently did an article on the Top-5 highest individual scorers list in the WTC cycle and now we will see who tops the list when it comes to the bowlers. Batsmen are someone who helps the teams win games but it’s the bowlers who can win them tournaments. It holds true for most tourneys and it is no different when it comes to this WTC cycle.

There have been many inspiring bowling spells throughout the cycle and we will see the 5 that are the most dominant displays of bowling in Test innings this WTC.

Here are the top- 5 best bowling figures in the WTC cycle held between 2021 and 2023.

#1 Ajaz Patel – 10/119 vs India (Mumbai, 2021)

Ajaz Pate joined the elite list of players in Test cricket to achieve the feat of taking 10 wicket in an innings against India at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. It was a great homecoming for left-arm spinner Patel who was born in Mumbai but migrated to New Zealand to find better career opportunities.

It paid off as Ajaz was preferred as the New Zealand’s No.1 spinner even ahead of more experienced all-rounder in Asian conditions. The spinner had a disappointing first Test where the game ended in a thrilling draw but come the 2nd Test at Mumbai, the spinner was on a different level. He regularly troubled the batsmen finding their edges and stumps a record 10 times in the season. He singe-handedly accounted for every Indian batter finishing with figures of 10/119 and ended the match with a return of 14/205but it didn’t prevent a Kiwi’s loss by a massive margin of 372 runs.

Before Ajaz Patel, only Anil Kumble and Jim Laker have taken all the 10 wickets to fall in an innings. This is the topmost spell in this WTC.

#2 Sajid Khan – 8/42 vs Bangladesh (Dhaka, 2021)

Sajid Khan, the Pakistani off-spinner bowled an inspiring spell of 8/42 against Bangladesh at Dhaka to script a famous win for his side. The match was highly affected by rain and light troubles and there was very little game time.

Only a cumulative 63 overs were possible on the first 3 days of the Test match with not even a single innings completed. But thanks to near uninterrupted play in the next 2 days, Pakistan was able to score 300 in their first innings and Bangladesh endured a stunning collapse in the both innings of the Test and main wrecker in chief was Sajid Khan who took 8/42 in the first innings getting the hosts bowled out for mere 87 and then in the follow-on they managed to dismiss the Asian team for 205 runs on the stroke of end of 5th day and capture a famous win which at one point looked improbable.

#3 Nathan Lyon – 8/64 vs India (Indore, 2023)

Nathan Lyon is the leading wicket taker in the 2021-2023 WTC cycle with 83 wickets to his name and one such spell that propelled to this height is his match-winning 8/64 at Indore which gave Australia their only win of the Border Gavaskar trophy 2022/23 held in India.

India were bowled out for a mere 109 runs in the first innings after opting to bat first and Lyon contributed by picking 3 wickets in the innings. After having a lead of close to 90 runs on a rank turner, Lyon was at his best snapping a 8-fer in the process. With his immaculate line and length, the wily office didn’t allow the batters to settle and help keep the 4th innings target to an achievable 76 which the Aussie batsmen went past with 8 wickets in hand.

#4 Matt Henry – 7/23 vs South Africa (Christchurch, 2022)

The first pacer to make this list is the New Zealand quick bowler Matt Henry who single handedly demolished the visiting South African side in the first Test match at Christchurch. Henry and New Zealand took advantage of the great bowling condition as they ran through South Africa in just over half-a-days play for a mere 95 runs.

He picked 7 wickets in the process and his impact on the match didn’t end there as he came back to hit a 58 with the bat in the first innings and further 2 wickets in SA’s 2nd batting knock to give the hosts a monumental win by an innings and 276 runs. This was NZ’s 5th Test win over South Africa and first since 2004 win. So it was Henry’s special that made this happen.

#5 Keshav Maharaj – 7/32 vs Bangladesh (Durban, 2022)

Keshav Maharaj took only 60 balls to capture the 7 wickets of the Bangladesh batters in the final innings of the Durban Test match held in April 2022. This is the most wickets a bowler has taken in his first 60 balls of a Test innings since 2002 and helped the host wallop a hapless Bangladeshi side for 53 runs in the 2nd innings thus gaining a massive 220-run win.

This was his 8th 5 wicket haul in Tests and Maharaj followed that up with yet another 7-wicket haul in the next game at Port Elizabeth.

Best Read: What makes Mohammad Shami a lethal Bowler?

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