Top 5 Best South African Bowlers In Test Match History

Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada are amongst the best South African bowlers in test history.
South Africa's Dale Steyn (R), teammate Vernon Philander (C) and Kagiso Rabada (L) leave the ground at the end of the Sri Lankan innings during the third day of the opening Test match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 14, 2018. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP) (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Best South African Bowlers Of All-Time

The best aspect of South African Cricket since their readmission has undoubtedly been their fast bowlers. They have carried the South African attack all over the world, in the absence of world-class spinners. Keshav Maharaj has been the best spinner produced in this time with the likes of Paul Adams not far behind.

The emergence of Kagiso Rabada has been impressive. He has taken the baton as the leader of the attack in the past few years and looks to be an all-time great in the making. The likes of Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman and Anrich Nortje all have exciting potential.

Pace is pace as they say and most of the names mentioned have the ability to bowl upwards of 90 miles per hour.

But, who have been the top 5 best fast bowlers for South Africa since their readmission in 1992?

1. Dale Steyn

South African bowler Dale Steyn (C) appeals to the umpirte for a decision against Sri Lankan batsman Lahiru Thirimanne (R) during the first day of the first Test cricket match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at The Kingsmead Stadium in Durban on February 13, 2019. (Photo by Anesh DEBIKY / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANESH DEBIKY/AFP via Getty Images)

The greatest fast bowler in South African history and arguably the greatest of all-time.

In 93 test matches, Dale Steyn picked up 439 test match wickets at a bowling average of 22.95. His strike rate of 42.3 is truly incredible and is the best for any bowler above 200 wickets. Though, his countryman Kagiso Rabada is likely to overtake him in the future.

Steyn was a master of moving the new ball and then reversing the old ball. He bowled upwards of 90 miles per hour and could crank it up when he wanted to. He helped South Africa win test series in every country apart from India. Even in India, he picked up two five-wicket hauls to help South Africa draw both series. This included his 7-51 in Nagpur – Steyn’s best bowling figures.

Dale Steyn is number one on our list of ” Top 5 best South African bowlers in test history.”

2. Allan Donald

Allan Donald is an all-time great and amongst the best South African bowlers in test history.
25 Nov 1999: Allan Donald of South Africa celebrates bowling Mike Atherton of England during the 1st Test Match at the Wanderers cricket ground in Johannesburg, South Afica. Mandatory Credit: Laurence Griffiths/ALLSPORT

The first South African bowler to pick up 300 test match wickets, Allan Donald was the poster boy when South Africa first arrived onto the international scene, post readmission. His duel with Mike Atherton in 1998 will be remembered for years to come.

In 72 tests, he picked up 330 wickets at a bowling average of 22.25. Like Steyn, he was prolific all over the world. Donald averages just 16.12 with the ball in India and 19.33 in Sri Lanka. Naturally, his bowling helped South Africa win test series in both countries.

His speed was above 90 miles per hour and also moved the ball both ways. A truly great bowler who was the inspiration for many.

Allan Donald is number two on our list of ” Top 5 best South African bowlers in test history.”

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3. Shaun Pollock

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND: South African paceman Shaun Pollock (R)celebrates with his teammates after dismissing New Zealand batsman Mathew Sinclair on the third day of the third Test Match, at the Basin Reserve in Wellington 28 March 2004. New Zealand is 128-5 at stumps in their second innings, giving them a lead of 109 runs. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Shaun Pollock, despite averaging 32 with the bat, was also prolific with the ball. A genuine all-rounder who could be in the side for either discipline. In 108 test matches, Shaun Pollock picked up 421 wickets at a bowling average of 23.12.

Pollock formed a fantastic bowling partnership with Donald because they complimented each other beautifully. He moved the new ball and was very accurate, giving nothing away. His economy rate of 2.40 suggests that he could tie batsmen up and force them to make mistakes.

He averaged 25 or below with the ball in Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

Shaun Pollock is number three on our list of ” Top 5 best South African bowlers in test history.”

4. Vernon Philander

South African bowler Vernon Philander celebrates the dismissal of Indian batsman Ravichandran Ashwin (not in picture) during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match between South Africa and India at Newlands cricket ground on January 8, 2018 in Cape Town. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Vernon Philander is best described as “The surgeon.”

His line and lengths were absolutely immaculate and could land the ball in an area all day long. He had the ability to work batsmen out, if they had any flaws in their technique. Not a swing bowler by trade, Vern seamed the ball just enough, both ways to cause trouble to batsmen.

In 64 tests, Philander picked up 224 wickets at a bowling average of 22.32. His best bowling averages were: 19 in South Africa, 23 in New Zealand, 23 in the UAE and 24 in England.

He formed arguably South Africa’s best pace trio of all-time along with Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.

vernon Philander is number four on our list of ” Top 5 best South African bowlers in test history.”

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5. Makhaya Ntini

South Africa’s bowler Makhaya Ntini (C) is congratulated by team-mate Hashim Amla (R) for dismissing New Zealand’s last batsman Chris Martin(L) 17 November 2007 on the 2nd day of the 2nd Cricket Test between South Africa and New Zealand at SuperSport Park in Centurion 40 Km north of Johannesburg . AFP PHOTO /ALEXANDER JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP via Getty Images)

Makhaya Ntini played 101 test matches and picked up 390 wickets at a bowling average of 28.83. He was a very good bowler who enjoyed pace and bounce on pitches. Despite this, he still had some good performances on the subcontinent.

Ntini’s best bowling averages include: 23 in Bangladesh, 24 in South Africa and 28 in India.

Makhaya Ntini is number five on our list of ” Top 5 best South African bowlers in test history.”

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