The Top 5 Best Bowling Partnerships

Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson are one of the best bowling partnerships of all-time in cricket. Their fast bowling has helped England win plenty of test matches.

Best Bowling Partnerships In Cricket

A bowling attack’s main job is to pick up 20 wickets in a test match and 10 wickets in an ODI. The former is crucial because there is no overs constraint in tests and therefore without taking 20 wickets, a team cannot win. As a result, the best test teams often have awesome bowling partnerships.

Even in ODI cricket, with the increasing regularity of power-hitting, strong bowling partnerships are a must, with both the new ball and the old ball. They can be either spin or pace orientated or a combination.

In today’s game, the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami have formed a lethal pairing for India. Australia have Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. South Africa have Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. The list goes on.

But, who are the best bowling partnerships of all-time, considering both test and ODI cricket?

1. Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath

Shane Warne and Glenn Mcgrath have the most test match wickets for Australia till date
27 Aug 2001: (R to L) Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath of Australia celebrates after winning the 5th Ashes Test between England and Australia at The AMP Oval, London. Mandatory Credit: Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT

In both test matches and ODI cricket, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath were a superb bowling partnership. They won the 1999 Cricket World Cup together, decimating Pakistan in the final at Lords. McGrath picked up 2 wickets, while conceding just 13 runs in 9 overs. Warne took 4 wickets and conceded just 33 in 9 overs.

In test cricket, no pair has taken more wickets and none have been more successful. McGrath and Warne helped Australia dominate test cricket for nearly a decade. This included test series wins all over the world, including a rare test series win in India in 2004.

Warne ended up with 708 test match wickets and McGrath with 563.

Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath are number one on our list of “Best bowling partnerships.”

2. Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad for England are amongst the best swing bowlers of all-time in test match cricket.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 06: James Anderson and Stuart Broad of England discuss during Day Two of the 1st #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford on August 06, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

The best bowling combination in the world currently, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have been fantastic for England Cricket for over a decade. Anderson picked up 429 wickets in the 2010s and was the highest wicket-taker in the world. Stuart Broad was the second- highest wicket-taker with 403 wickets.

The pair are renowned for their seam and swing movement, especially in English conditions. Together they help England beat Australia in the 2009 Ashes, 2013 Ashes and 2015 Ashes. Anderson also produced a fantastic performance in the 2010/11 tour Down Under to help England regain The Ashes for the first time since 1986/87.

Their accuracy and longevity is sublime and they still continue to perform all over the world.

Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson are number two on our list of “Best bowling partnerships.”


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3. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis will open the bowling in Pakistans best test XI
6-11 Dec 1990: Portrait of Pakistan fast bowlers Wasim Akram (left) and Waqar Younis during the Third Test match against the West Indies at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. The match ended in a draw. Mandatory Credit: Pascal Rondeau/Allsport

Two of the greatest bowlers in Pakistan Cricket’s history, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were simply stunning in the 1990s. Akram helped Pakistan win the 1992 Cricket World Cup Down Under with his stunning display against England in the final. Waqar was injured and could not take part in the tournament.

In both tests and ODI’s the pair launched the art of reverse-swinging the old ball, in order to cause havoc to middle and lower-orders. Their artistry was filled with pacy yorkers and sublime bouncers.

Akram picked up 289 test match wickets in the 1990s at a bowling average of just 21.45. Waqar picked up 273 wickets at a bowling average of 21.71.

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis are number three on our list of “Best bowling partnerships.”

4. Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh

Anil Kumble and Harbhajan singh are amongst two of India's best spinners ever.
Indian cricket captain Anil Kumble (L) congratulates teammate Harbhajan Singh for the wicket of unseen Pakistan cricketer Danish Kaneria during the fourth day of the second Test match at the Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata, 03 December 2007. Pakistan were all out for 456 runs in their first innings, with India gaining a lead of 160 runs. AFP PHOTO/ Prakash SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)

Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were a superb spin-bowling partnership for India in the 2000s.

They both had different assets to their game. Kumble was more of a quicker bowler who bowled wicket-to-wicket, while Bhaji would sometimes give the ball more air and vary his pace a lot more. Bhaji also was a difficult bowler to sweep because he was very smart in the lengths that he would bowl.

One being an off-spinner and one being a leg spinner gave great variety to the attack. Especially in the subcontinent, they would be a lethal asset to the opposition batsmen.

Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh are number four on our list of “Best bowling partnerships.”


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5. Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald

Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald have been excellent in test cricket and ODI cricket for South Africa as a bowling pair.
UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 22: CRICKET : SHAUN POLLOCK & ALLAN DONALD / SOUTH AFRICA (Photo by David Munden/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Shaun Pollock and Donald remain the best bowling partnership in South African Cricket history. They complimented each other beautifully, due to the pace and bounce of Allan Donald, coupled up with the line and length of Shaun Pollock. At home, they made South Africa almost unbeatable.

In the subcontinent they were also really good, helping South Africa to test series wins in all three major countries – India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Pollock and Donald picked up 161 and 284 wickets respectively in the 1990s, at bowling averages of 20.45 and 21.83.

Neither played in South Africa’s only ICC success – the 1998 Champions Trophy, but they still formed a formidable duo at the 1999 Cricket World Cup. A trophy which South Africa should perhaps have won, considering that they were the strongest team at the tournament.

Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald are number five on our list of “Best bowling partnerships.”

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