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Top 10: Most 5-Wicket Hauls in a Bilateral Test Series

In Test cricket, a bowler’s excellence is measured by the number of 5-wicket hauls he has taken in his career. This is because running through half a side takes a lot of effort, determination, and skill, and that is why it is not an easy ask for a bowler to clinch a fifer.

But there are bowlers in the close to 150-year history of Test cricket who have taken 5-wicket hauls in an innings for fun. The thing is, they didn’t just stop picking 5-fers after 1 or 2 innings but were like a thorn in the opposition throughout the series, having their batter’s numbers.

Here is a list of the top 10 bowlers with the most 5-wicket hauls in a bilateral Test series.

Most 5-Wicket Hauls in a Test Series

PlayerInnings5-Wicket HaulsTotal WicketsOpponentYear & Venue
Sydney Barnes (ENG)8749South Africa 1913/14, South Africa
Terry Alderman (AUS)11641England1989, England
Sydney Barnes (ENG)6534South Africa 1912, England
Maurice Tate (ENG)10538Australia1924/25, Australia
Clarrie Grimmett (AUS)10544South Africa 1935/36, South Africa
Alec Bedser (ENG)10539Australia1953, England
Alan Davidson (AUS)8533West Indies1960/61, Australia
Rodney Hogg (AUS)11541England1978/79, Australia
Sir Richard Hadlee (NZ)6533Australia1985/86, Australia
Charles Turner (AUS)4421England1888, England

Key Insights

At first glance at this list, we find it is completely dominated by Australian and English bowlers. Sir Richard Hadlee is the only bowler who is neither English nor Australian on this list. Understandably so, because these 2 nations play 5 or more Tests quite regularly than the other sides.

Sydney Barnes has the undisputed record of having the most number of five-wicket hauls in a Test series. He scalped 7 fifers in a series against South Africa back in the 1913/14 season. His bowling average was just 10.93, taking a whopping 49 wickets in the series — the most wickets by a bowler in a bilateral Test series.

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The English legend features 1 more time as he scalped 5 or more wickets 5 times in 6 innings against South Africa. Other than Barnes, only Hadlee has taken 5 five-wicket hauls in 6 or fewer innings.

More than 30 times, bowlers have taken 4 five-wicket hauls or more in a Test series featuring 2 teams, and the number extends to 110+ if we take into account instances of bowlers taking 3 five-wicket hauls or more.

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