Top 10 Active Bowlers With Most Wickets In Test Cricket

Updated - 27 Nov 2023, 04:37 PM

Top 10 Active Bowlers With Most Wickets In Test Cricket
Top 10 Active Bowlers With Most Wickets In Test Cricket

Bowling has always been a tough job in Test cricket, but remains the key to winning Tests as doesn’t matter how many runs a team puts on the board, it eventually comes down to taking 20 wickets with the ball to emerge as the victors.

The game has seen some great bowlers, from the wizardry and guile of Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne to the pace and accuracy of Courtney Walsh and Glenn McGrath, win them games for their respective countries. The legendary Sri Lankan spinner remains the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, with 800 scalps to his name, still a decade after his retirement.

Here we look at the Top 10 Active Bowlers With Most Wickets In Test Cricket:

10. Yasir Shah – 235

Yasir Shah
Yasir Shah. Image-Twitter

The leg-spinner from Pakistan has taken 235 wickets in 45 Tests at an average of 30.83. 16 times he has registered a five-wicket haul and thrice 10-wicket match hauls.

Yasir Shah is Pakistan’s current premier spinner in Test cricket; he is their third-highest wicket-taker amongst spinner – just 1 wicket behind Abdul Qadir, and 26 away from Danish Kaneria. It’s commendable that Shah has taken most of these wickets on non-turning pitches – of the UAE, and other overseas countries.

9. Mitchell Starc-255

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc (Getty)

When on song Mitchell Starc is one of the most lethal bowlers in world cricket. In conditions with even little help, the left-hander is capable of demolishing batting line-ups on his own, be it with the new or the old ball.

His 255 wickets came in 61 Tests, 27.57 apiece, with 13 five-fors and as many four-fors. His pairing with Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood has made them a fearsome trio in Test cricket; Starc remains Australia’s go-to weapon across formats.

8. Trent Boult-281

Trent Boult
Trent Boult (Image Credit: Twitter)

One of the finest new-ball bowlers New Zealand has ever produced, Trent Boult has 281 wickets in his bag from 71 Tests at an average of 28.02, with 8 five-wicket hauls included. The duo of Boult and Tim Southee is arguably the best new-ball bowling pair in the world.

The left-hander also is adept at generating reverse swing when the ball is old. He continues to be Kane Williamson’s potent threat in the powerplay in white-ball cricket too.

7. Tim Southee-302

Tim Southee, New Zealand
Tim Southee (Image Credit: Twitter)

With 302 wickets to his name, Tim Southee is the leading wicket-taker active Kiwi bowler. Those wickets have come in 77 Tests at 28.70 each.

Overall Southee has the third-highest tally of Test scalps amongst New Zealand bowlers – behind Daniel Vettori (361) and Sir Richard Hadlee (431). Like Boult, Southee is also a predominantly new ball wicket-taker, but can eke out batters with the older ball as well.

6. Ishant Sharma-303

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ishant Sharma’s 101-Test career can be separated into two parts: pre- and post-2018. Making his debut in 2007, Sharma averaged 34.28 taking 267 wickets till 2018. Since the start of that year, he has taken 77 scalps at an outstanding average of 19.72, also helping India register the historic maiden series win in Australia.

Ishant’s sum of 303 wickets is only second for Indian pacers – following Zaheer Khan (311) and Kapil Dev (434).

5. Nathan Lyon-399

Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon. (Photo: Getty Images)

Snaring 399 scalps in 100 Tests, Nathan Lyon is Australia’s third-leading wicket-taker ever – only Glenn McGrath (563) and Shane Warne (708) are ahead of him – and hence is regarded as their greatest off-spinner.

200 of those 399 wickets have come in Australia, a country known to produce pace-friendly tracks, making Lyon’s effort applaudable.

4. Ravichandran Ashwin-409

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ravichandran Ashwin is a shrewd bowler, an earnest learner, and a hard-working cricketer. With his craft and guile, he has foxed batters 409 times in 78 Tests. An average of 24.69 indicates his consistent dominance for a decade.

He is expected to surpass Harbhajan Singh (417) soon; other Indians ahead of them are Kapil Dev (434), and Anil Kumble (619).

3. Harbhajan Singh-417

Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh (Image Credits: Twitter)

Harbhajan Singh last played Test cricket for India in 2015; since he hasn’t announced any official retirement, he’s counted as an active cricketer. The off-spinner is one of those few players remaining who commenced their careers in the previous century – 1998 in his case – and still are around.

With his mastery over off-spin, Harbhajan has taken 417 Test scalps in 103 Tests. He was sidelined due to his waning powers and the emergence of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. The 40-year old continues to play in the IPL though.

2. Stuart Broad-517

Stuart Broad, England
Stuart Broad (Image Credit: Twitter)

Stuart Broad has remained under the shadow of James Anderson for a major portion of his career. Although he is the second-highest wicket-taker for England with 517 wickets, he remains the second-highest wicket-taker in the current England team as well – behind Anderson.

Nonetheless, Broad has had his moments to reflect on, he is only the second bowler from England – of course after Anderson – to cross 500 Test wickets landmark. Averaging 27.71, Broad has taken 18 five-fors in his 517 scalps from 146 Tests. He has only got better in recent years – in 2020 the pacer picked 38 wickets at 14.76 apiece.

1. James Anderson-614

James Anderson, Test, Test Cricket
James Anderson. (Photo: SLC)

James Anderson is the all-time leading wicket-taker amongst fast bowlers, as 614 times batters have fallen prey to the legendary seamer. Having made his debut way back in 2003, James Anderson has unlocked a new mode in the past few years – since 2014, he averages 21.32 with the ball. He has aged like a fine wine – since the start of 2020, Anderson’s average is 17.40!

He is currently the third-leading wicket-taker behind Muralitharan, Warne, and Kumble, and has a claim to be recognized as the greatest Test seamer in the game having taken wickets and won matches all around the world.

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(All Stats Updated Till 28th May 2021)


Harbhajan Singh Ishant Sharma James Anderson Mitchell Starc Nathan Lyon Ravichandran Ashwin