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Test cricket’s 500 club

James Anderson is climbing the ranks and is close to Glenn McGrath’s record for most Test wickets by a fast bowler.

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Glenn McGrath, left, and James Anderson are Test cricket’s most prolific pacemen (Gareth Copley/PA)

Glenn McGrath, left, and James Anderson are Test cricket’s most prolific pacemen (Gareth Copley/PA)

Glenn McGrath, left, and James Anderson are Test cricket’s most prolific pacemen (Gareth Copley/PA)

James Anderson has Glenn McGrath’s record of 563 Test wickets by a fast bowler in his sights, having moved to 557.

Both belong to Test cricket’s elite 500 club and here, Press Association Sport assesses the six men to have reached the milestone.

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(PA Graphic)

(PA Graphic)

(PA Graphic)

Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka
(800 wickets, 133 Tests, 22.72 average)

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Muttiah Muralitharan holds the all-time Test wicket record (Gareth Copley/PA)

Muttiah Muralitharan holds the all-time Test wicket record (Gareth Copley/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Muttiah Muralitharan holds the all-time Test wicket record (Gareth Copley/PA)

The Sri Lankan great’s controversial action will, unfortunately, always encroach into conversations about his ability to generate prodigious, venomous turn with his off-breaks and doosras but having been cleared to bowl by the International Cricket Council, he did so with a merciless appetite. His record of 67 five-wicket hauls and 22 10-wicket matches is a record by an almost comical margin and, arguably, no retirement in history has left such an irreplaceable gap in a national side.

Shane Warne, Australia
(708 wkts, 145 Tests, 25.41 avg)

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Shane Warne celebrates a wicket against England (Rui Vieira/PA)

Shane Warne celebrates a wicket against England (Rui Vieira/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Shane Warne celebrates a wicket against England (Rui Vieira/PA)

With a surfer’s haircut and a club cricketer’s build, Warne busted many stereotypes with his genius for the craft of leg-spin. He resuscitated the art and bamboozled batsmen with his vast arsenal of deliveries – all hyped, many genuine, some imagined. He made his name by bowling England’s Mike Gatting with the ‘ball of the century’ in 1993 and was still baiting the old enemy 14 years later, signing off in triumph after a 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

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Anil Kumble, India
(619 wkts, 132 Tests, 29.65 avg)

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Anil Kumble celebrates his 500th Test wicket (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Anil Kumble celebrates his 500th Test wicket (Rebecca Naden/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Anil Kumble celebrates his 500th Test wicket (Rebecca Naden/PA)

The cerebral wrist-spinner will be immortalised by his feat of taking all 10 wickets in an innings against India’s great rivals Pakistan in 1999. Kumble was often overshadowed by the exploits of the two names above him on the list but he achieved two things neither Warne nor Muralitharan ever did – a Test century and being named captain of his country, which he achieved age 37.

Glenn McGrath, Australia
(563 wkts, 124 matches, 21.64 avg)

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Glenn McGrath celebrates the wicket of England’s Michael Vaughan (Chris Young/PA)

Glenn McGrath celebrates the wicket of England’s Michael Vaughan (Chris Young/PA)

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Glenn McGrath celebrates the wicket of England’s Michael Vaughan (Chris Young/PA)

It was Australian cricket’s great fortune that the careers of Warne and McGrath ran in tandem from 1993 to 2007, and no coincidence that they dominated that era so comprehensively. McGrath achieved greatness not through stunning pace or vicious lateral movement, though he was able summon enough of both. Instead he was relentless in finding the right line and length on any given surface and probing it exhaustively. Famous for his refusal to offer cheap runs, he has the lowest average among the top 10 wicket-takers.

James Anderson, England
(557 wickets, 141 Tests, 26.85 avg)

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James Anderson remains a key man for England (Jason O’Brien/PA)

James Anderson remains a key man for England (Jason O’Brien/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

James Anderson remains a key man for England (Jason O’Brien/PA)

England’s king of swing continues to climb the ranks and recently passed a century of wickets at Lord’s alone, the only man other than Muralitharan to achieve the feat at a single ground. After attempts to rebuild his action early in his career resulted in a loss of form, England allowed him to go his own way and have been rewarded with consistent performances in tandem with Stuart Broad.

Courtney Walsh, West Indies
(519 wkts, 132 Tests, 24.44 avg)

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Courtney Walsh at one point held the record for most Test wickets (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Courtney Walsh at one point held the record for most Test wickets (Rebecca Naden/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Courtney Walsh at one point held the record for most Test wickets (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Discussions on the greatest fast bowler from the Caribbean tend to be long and involve illustrious names such as Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Michael Holding, Ian Bishop and Curtly Ambrose. But none of those had Walsh’s fortitude and staying power, as he clocked up 132 Test caps in 17 years. Like McGrath, Walsh was more work-horse than war machine in his devastating partnership with Ambrose but his height and natural bounce never failed to unsettle batsmen.


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