Elite Club

500 Wickets in Test Cricket – The Elite Club

One of the very few things that give cricketers the legendary tag to their name is longevity. Playing for more years can only mean they have played consistent cricket. One cannot play for a long time without delivering what the team wants consistently. A bowler picking more than 500 wickets in Test cricket is similar to a batsman scoring an aggregate of 10000 runs in a single format.

In fact, it’s quite rarer and a bigger achievement than that.

Only eight players in the history of 100+ years long Test cricket has break the barrier of 500 Test scalps so far. The only closest member to this group among the current bowlers is Ravichandran Ashwin.

The West Indian fast bowler, Courtney Walsh, is the first bowler to break into the 500-wickets mark in Test cricket.

With the recent inclusion of Nathan Lyon into this elite club, here is a blog for all these members who went past the magical number – 500 Test Wickets milestone.

List of Bowlers with 500 Test wickets

Here is a list of all bowlers, who have picked more than 500 wickets in Test cricket:

Muttiah Muralitharan (SL)133 8009/5167/22
Shane Warne (AUS)1457088/7137/10
James Anderson (ENG)1877007/4232/3
Anil Kumble (IND)13261910/7435/8
Stuart Broad (ENG)1676048/1520/3
Glenn McGrath (AUS)1245638/2429/3
Nathan Lyon (AUS)1295308/5024/5
Courtney Walsh (WI)1325197/3722/3
Ravichandran Ashwin (IND)1005167/5936/8

Key Stats

Among these eight bowlers, there are four spinners (interestingly, two off-spinners, a leg-breaker, and a leg-spinner) and four fast bowlers.

The spin duo – Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne tops the overall list of leading wicket-takers in Test cricket.

Three bowlers from Australia, two from England, and one each from India, Sri Lanka, and West Indies have achieved this feat so far.

Out of these 8, Walsh, McGrath, Warne, Murali, Lyon, and Kumble are the only seven bowlers in Test cricket to bowl more than 5000 Overs in Test cricket.

Other notable stats is, all these eight bowlers are right-handed. The record for the highest wicket-taking left-handed bowlers belongs to Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka, who has taken 433 wickets and ranks 10th overall. He is followed by Wasim Akram (414) of Pakistan and Daniel Vettori (362) of New Zealand.

Every bowler in the above list has at least played one Test in the 21st century. The highest wicket-taking Test bowler, who has not played a single Test in the 2000s, is Kapil Dev, who played from 1978-1994 and took 434 wickets.

The Sri Lankan bowler, Muralitharan convincingly leads the top Test wicket-taker chart with a lead of 92 wickets from the 2nd ranked Australian Warne.

Fastest and Slowest to 500 Test Wickets

Here’s the elite members ranked from the fastest and slowest in terms of Test matches and days they took to pick 500 Test wickets:

Muttiah Muralitharan (SL)8711Y 201D
Anil Kumble (IND)10515Y 212D
Shane Warne (AUS)10812Y 66D
Glenn McGrath (AUS)11011Y 251D
Nathan Lyon (AUS)12312Y 107D
Courtney Walsh (WI)12916Y 128D
James Anderson (ENG)12914Y 108D
Stuart Broad (ENG)14012Y 228D
Fastest to 500 Test Wickets

Key Stats

Muttiah Muralitharan, whose cricketing journey longed for almost 20 years, is the fastest to achieve this mark in Test cricket. He picked his 500th wicket in his 87th Test match against Australia in his hometown Kandy.

Stuart Broad, who is a recent entry to the club, is the slowest to reach five hundred Test wickets. Even then, he is faster than three other bowlers in this list in terms of days to reach the 500-wicket mark.

Who are the 500th Wickets?

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Here’s a list of the 500th Wicket of all Test bowlers who have achieved the feat:

Courtney WalshJacques KallisSouth AfricaMarch 2001Trinidad
Shane WarneHashan TillakaratneSri LankaMarch 2004Galle
Muttiah MuralitharanMichael KasprowiczAustraliaMarch 2004Kandy
Glenn McGrathMarcus TrescothickEnglandJuly 2005London
Anil KumbleSteve HarmisonEnglandMarch 2006Mohali
James AndersonKraigg BrathwaiteWest IndiesSeptember 2017London
Stuart BroadKraigg BrathwaiteWest IndiesJuly 2020Manchester
Nathan LyonFaheem AshrafPakistanDecember 2023Perth
The Milestones – 500th wickets of all Test bowlers

Key Stats

Interestingly, the West Indian opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite is the 500th victim of both the English bowlers Anderson and Broad.

The other team with two 500th victims is England itself, with Marcus Trescothick and Steve Harmison falling to McGrath and Kumble, respectively, as their 500th scalp.

Notably, both Warne and Muralitharan have crossed the 500-wicket barrier in two different Tests of the same series.

The two pacers in the list, McGrath, and Anderson picked their 500th-milestone wicket in the same venue – Lord’s Cricket Ground, London.

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