The beautiful game of cricket is not just about scoring runs; it is also about things like fielding and bowling. Bowling plays a crucial role in making the game more interesting for viewers. Bowlers taking a Fifer have equal importance to a batter scoring a century. There has also been a chat about the batters with the most centuries, but nobody talks about the Fifers of the bowlers, and here in this article we have the bowlers with the most five-wicket hauls in test cricket history.
Top 10 Players with Most Fifers in Test Cricket
|Five-wicket hauls (Fifers)
Muttiah Muralitharan (67)
Sri Lankan cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan still holds the top spot with 67 five-wicket hauls in Test matches, a record that may never be surpassed. Muralitharan, known for his off-spin bowling, started his career in 1992 and played 133 Tests, taking a remarkable 800 wickets, with his best bowling figures being 9/51.
He is the only bowler to achieve the feat of taking nine wickets in an innings twice. Despite facing controversies regarding his bowling action throughout his career, Muralitharan persevered and became a true icon of the sport. He retired as the highest wicket-taker in both Test and One-Day International cricket.
Shane Warne (37)
In second place on the list is the late, legendary Shane Warne, widely regarded as the greatest leg spinner in Test cricket history. He was also the first bowler to reach the milestone of 700 wickets in Test matches. Warne is often credited with revitalizing the art of leg-spin bowling in limited-overs cricket and was equally impressive in Test matches.
Warne started his Test career in 1992 against India and went on to claim 708 wickets in 145 Test matches for Australia, which included achieving a hat-trick. Throughout his career, he took a total of 37 five-wicket hauls in Test matches. His best bowling performance was 8/71 against England in 1994/95.
Richard Hadlee (36)
Sir Richard Hadlee is widely regarded as New Zealand’s greatest bowler ever, and his remarkable record of 431 wickets in just 86 Test matches is a testament to his skill. Hadlee started playing for New Zealand in 1973 and retired from Test cricket in 1990. In addition to his impressive wicket tally, he also scored 3124 runs and notched up two centuries during his career.
One of Hadlee’s standout performances was his bowling figures of 9/52 against Australia in 1985 during the Brisbane Test. Throughout his career, he achieved 36 five-wicket hauls and nine ten-wicket hauls.
Anil Kumble (35)
Anil Kumble, often considered India’s finest leg-spinner, had a remarkable career starting in 1990 against England. He took 619 wickets in 132 Test matches for India. Kumble claimed 35 five-wicket hauls in Tests, with his best bowling being a record-breaking 10 wickets for 74 runs against Pakistan in the 1999 Delhi Test match. This made him only the second bowler in Test cricket history to achieve such a remarkable feat, following England’s Jim Laker.
Ravichandran Ashwin (34)
Indian cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin is not just a talented bowler but also a skilled batsman, making him a true all-rounder. With over 3000 runs and five centuries in Test matches, he’s proven his ability with the bat as well. Since his debut in 2011, Ashwin has emerged as India’s greatest off spinner. In 97 Test matches, he has taken 499 wickets and achieved 34 five-wicket hauls. He’s also recorded eight ten-wicket hauls, with his best bowling performance being 7/59 against New Zealand during the 2016–17 season.
Rangana Herath (34)
Rangana Herath didn’t get many chances to play Test cricket for Sri Lanka at first because Muralitharan was the main spinner in the team. But when Muralitharan retired in 2008, Herath became an essential player for Sri Lanka. He ended his career with 433 wickets in 93 Tests, most of which he got after Muralitharan retired. One of his best bowling performances was taking nine wickets for 127 runs against Pakistan in a Test match in Colombo in 2014. He also got 34 five-wicket hauls throughout his career.
James Anderson (32)
Despite being 40 years old, James Anderson continues to perform exceptionally well. With 695 Test wickets, he ranks third in the list of most wickets in Tests, just behind Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. Since his Test debut in 2003, Anderson has played 184 Tests, which is the second highest ever. He has taken 32 five-wicket hauls in Tests, with his best bowling figure being 7/42 achieved against the West Indies in 2020.
Glenn McGrath (29)
Glenn McGrath is widely considered one of the greatest fast bowlers in cricket history. Standing tall and bowling with precision, he consistently troubled batsmen throughout his career. He started playing for Australia in 1993 and retired after his 124th Test match in 2007.
In total, McGrath took 563 wickets in Test cricket, at one point holding the record for the most wickets by a fast bowler. His average was really impressive 21.64. He achieved 29 five-wicket hauls in Tests, including one memorable hat-trick. McGrath’s best bowling performance was 8/24 against Pakistan in 2004-05.
Ian Botham (27)
Ian Botham is widely regarded as one of the best all-rounders in cricket history, especially in Test matches. He started playing Test cricket in 1977 and participated in 102 matches. Apart from his excellent bowling skills, he was also a proficient batsman, scoring 5200 runs and hitting 14 centuries.
He surpassed Dennis Lillee’s record of 355 wickets in 1986 and held that record for two years until Richard Hadlee surpassed it. By the end of his career, Botham had taken 383 wickets in 102 Tests, including 27 instances of taking five wickets in an innings. His best bowling performance was an 8/34 against Pakistan in 1978.
Dale Steyn (26)
Dale Steyn, the fast bowler from South Africa, had a remarkable Test career. He started playing in 2004 and ended his Test journey in 2019, just short of reaching 100 matches for his country.
In the 93 Test matches he played for South Africa; Steyn took an impressive 439 wickets with an average of 22.95. Throughout his career, he achieved 26 instances of taking five wickets in an innings and six instances of taking ten wickets in a match. His best bowling performance was 7 wickets for 51 runs, which he achieved against India in Nagpur in 2010.