Top 5 Best Australian Bowlers In Test History

Shane Warne is amongst the best Australian bowlers of all-time, having picked up 708 test wickets.
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Best Australian Bowlers In Test Matches

The current Australian bowling attack is widely regarded as the best in test match cricket. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon form a deadly quartet. They have variety in the attack, in terms of pace, bounce, movement and spin. But, are any of them amongst the best Australian bowlers in test history?

Australia has been statistically the most successful test match nation of all-time, with a win percentage of 47.35. Their 394 test match wins is also the highest by any nation.

Bowlers are said to win test matches right?

20 wickets have to be taken in order to win the game. As a result, Australia must surely have had some of the finest bowlers of all-time within their ranks?

But, who are they?

1. Shane Warne

Shane Warne of Australia claims the wicket of Steve Harmison of England during the 3rd Test match between Australia and England at the WACA, Perth, Australia, 18th December 2006. Australia won the match by 206 runs and regained the Ashes after taking a 3-0 lead in the five-match series. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Shane Warne is widely regarded as “The King Of Spin.” His test record for Australia suggests exactly why. 708 test match wickets for Australia in 145 tests. He redefined the way that spin bowling was viewed at by captains. Warne could bowl either attacking or defensively, depending on what the situation demanded. He could also bowl long and accurate spells, allowing the fast bowlers to rotate from the other end.

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He has taken 37 five-wicket hauls and 10 ten-wicket hauls. The best leg spinner to have ever played the game. He prospered touring most countries, aside India and the West Indies. A bowling average of 25.42 for a leg spinner is very strong, considering that he played half of his games in Australia, where there is little assistance for spinners.

Shane Warne is number one on our list of “Top 5 best Australian bowlers in test match history.”

2. Glenn Mcgrath

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 14: Glenn McGrath of Australia runs in to bowl during day one of the third Ashes Test Match between Australia and England at the WACA on December 14, 2006 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The epitome of consistency. Glenn McGrath could land the ball on a sixpence all day long and gave nothing away to opposition batsmen. In 124 tests, he picked up 563 wickets at a bowling average of 21.64. He picked up 29 five-wicket hauls and 3 ten-wicket hauls.

Together, Warne and McGrath terrorised opposition batsmen and helped Australia become the dominant force in test cricket for almost a decade. His favourite countries to bowl in were: the UAE, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, England and the West Indies. He averaged 7.40, 15, 18.40, 19.34 and 20.70 in those countries respectively.

Glenn McGrath is number two on our list of “Top 5 best Australian bowlers in test match history.”


Also, Read:

Picking Australia’s all-time test XI

Top 5 most test wickets for Australia

The best bowling attacks of all-time


3. Dennis Lillee

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 12: Australia bowler Dennis Lillee in action as non striking England batsman Chris Tavare looks on during the opening day of the 1982/83 Ashes series at the WACCA on November 12, 1982 in Perth, Australia. (Photo Allsport/Getty Images)

Dennis Lillee is arguably the greatest fast bowler that Australia has ever produced. He started off as a tearaway pacer but refined himself to become one of the finest craftsman ever seen in test cricket.

In 70 tests he picked up 355 test match wickets for Australia at a bowling average of just 23.92. He formed one of the best bowling partnerships in test cricket, along with Jeff Thomson in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was also the first test match bowler to pick up 350 wickets.

Dennis Lillee is number three on our list of “Top 5 best Australian bowlers in test match history.”

4. Clarrie Grimmett

1934: CHECK HI-RES IF SUPPLYING DIGITALLY Australian spin bowler Clarrie Grimmett (1891 – 1980), the Wisden Cricketer of the Year, 1931. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

The only bowler on this list from the pre-war era. Clarrie Grimmett has amazing statistics. He only played 37 tests throughout his career before picked up 216 wickets at a bowling average of 24.22.

He was a genuine wicket-taker, underlined by the fact that he managed to get 21 five-wicket hauls and 7 10-wicket hauls in just 37 games. A fantastic leg-spinner.

Clarrie Grimmett is number four on our list of “Top 5 best Australian bowlers in test match history.”

5. Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins has the potential to be amongst the best Australian test match bowlers. He currently has over 150 wickets for Australia.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 07: Pat Cummins of Australia celebrates bowling Joe Root of England during day four of the 4th Specsavers Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford on September 7, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Pat Cummins is the only bowler still playing to make this list. Some may argue that he perhaps shouldn’t feature here yet, but there is little doubt that we are looking at a potential all-time great.

He set the stage alight, on his test debut, picking up the man-of-the-match award at the Wanderers Stadium in 2011. Injuries hampered his progress until 2017, but since gaining full fitness, he has been unstoppable. He is currently the number one test bowler in the world.

Pat Cummins praises Indian youngster

In just 32 tests, he has picked up 153 wickets at a bowling average of 21.52 – the best of any bowler on the list. Along with Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins forms an important part of arguably the best test attack in the world.

He was excellent in both the 2017/18 and the 2019 Ashes series, picking up 23 and 29 wickets respectively. Australia won 4-0 at home and retained the Ashes in England, drawing 2-2 – the first time they had not lost a test series in England since 2001.

Pat Cummins also helped Australia to bowl India out for just 36 in the first test of the Border-Gavaskar Series 2020/21. He is a prize asset for the Australian Cricket Team and his workload should be managed to ensure that he lives up to the billing of an all-time test match great.

Pat Cummins is number five on our list of “Top 5 best Australian bowlers in test match history.”

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