Test cricket is the most difficult as well as the most important format. There’s a reason why the majority of cricketers regard winning Test matches to be their ultimate ambition. This demonstrates how difficult it is to perform well in the game’s longest format.
We have seen a lot of world-class players perform well in Test cricket because it is the oldest format. However, regardless of how skilled you are, becoming a “all-time great” in the game’s longest version is one of the most difficult things to achieve. As a result, only the greatest of the best become all-time great Test cricketers.
Various cricketers have made it big in the most challenging format over the years, setting new standards. Which two players, on the other hand, would make the top batsman & top bowler of all time? Take a look at this-
‘The Don’ is without a doubt the greatest batsman in the history of cricket. An historic average of 99.94 in 52 Tests for Australia, spanning 6,996 runs, is unrivalled in sports. Bradman converted scores of 50 or more into centuries on 29 of 42 occasions (a record that he held for over 40 years after his retirement), scored 12 double-centuries (also a record), and scored more than 300 runs twice in 80 innings.
- Rise of the “Don”
These numbers help to explain Bradman’s complete dominance during his Test career, which lasted from 1928 to 1948. After a dismal start against England in Brisbane in 1928, ‘The Boy From Bowral’ was dropped, but after being reinstated later in the series and scoring 79 and 112 at the MCG, the small prodigy proved unstoppable.
As Australia recaptured the Ashes in 1930, Bradman racked up 974 runs in just seven innings (including a then-record 334 at Headingley), average 139.14. His perfect technique, unrivalled assortment of strokes, and lightning-quick scoring pace captivated a nation – and the cricketing world. Despite the fact that England’s contentious leg theory was created solely to counteract Bradman’s skill, he still managed to average 56.57 in the ‘Bodyline’ series loss of 1933/34.
Despite struggling with health, Bradman led Australia to a stunning Ashes victory in England in 1934, scoring 304 at Headingley and 244 and 77 at The Oval in the final two Tests. International cricket was put on hold during World War II, but the 38-year-old resumed his career with scores of 187 and 234 in the first two Tests of the 1946/47 Ashes series. Bradman was a divisive and often unpopular figure inside his own camp, especially after becoming the captaincy, yet he remained a lethal batsman till the conclusion of his legendary career. In his final home series against India in 1947/48, he bludgeoned 715 runs in six innings at 178.75, and in his penultimate Test innings in the 1948 Ashes series, he struck 173* at Leeds.
Murali dominated the Test circuit, finishing as the format’s leading wicket-taker. In 133 Tests, he claimed 800 scalps at an average of 22.72. In the longest format, Murali holds the record for most five-wicket hauls (67).
On 22 occasions, he took 10 wickets in a Test match across innings.
- The career that amazed us
Regardless of the team’s performance, Muralitharan continued to trouble batters and capture wickets in successive series. In 1995, he was involved in a bowling action issue early in his innings. In March 1997, he hit the 200-wicket mark after receiving ICC approval.
In 1998, he took his first ten wickets, and later that year, he had his best match numbers of 16 wickets for 220 runs, with 9 wickets for 65 runs in the second innings, bringing his career total to 200 wickets. Muralitharan believes that his 1998 performance was the turning point in his career, and he hasn’t looked back since.
In his 58th Test, Muralitharan took Shaun Pollock for his 300th Test wicket. After Dennis Lillee, he was the second fastest to attain the milestone. He is still third on the list, with Ashwin surpassing both Murali and Lilliee after 20 years.
Muralitharan became the fastest and youngest player to reach 400 Test wickets in 2002. In his 87th Test match, Muralitharan became the fastest and youngest player to reach 500 Test wickets.
Muttiah Muralitharan broke Courtney Walsh’s record of 519 Test wickets in 2004 to become the all-time leading wicket-taker. Later that year, he was dethroned by Shane Warne in a match that was seen by the entire cricket globe.
Muralitharan, after Shane Warne, became the second bowler in history to dismiss 700 Test wickets in 2007. In December of same year, he recaptured the record for most Test wickets by capturing Paul Collingwood as his 709th wicket in his 116th match, surpassing Shane Warne by 29 wickets.
Muralitharan took the last wicket of the second innings in his farewell Test match against India in 2010, becoming the first bowler to take 800 wickets in Test history. He concluded his career with a 2.47 economy and a 55 strike rate.