10 Greatest Bowling Performances of All Time in a Test Series
#9 Glenn McGrath: 30 wickets at 16.93 vs the West Indies (1999)
McGrath's Test bowling record is virtually without blemish. His consistency and longevity meant he had success against every Test-playing nation and didn't average above 30 against a single side.
Even then, he favored certain opposition. He was particularly potent against England and the West Indies, taking over 100 wickets against both sides. McGrath had numerous great series against these two sides. He helped Australia win a series against the West Indies for the first time in nearly 20 years in 1995, then helped them retain it with another excellent series the following year. He was brilliant in his first tour of England in 1997, and was arguably the best bowler in the following two Ashes series as well. However, never was McGrath better than in the four-match series against the West Indies in 1999.
The years prior to this series had signified a shift in the balance of power. The West Indies had been the strongest side in cricket since the mid to late seventies, but as the 90s wore on Australia began to steal this title from them. The 1995 series between the two sides can be viewed as the moment Australia supplanted the West Indies as the world's best team even though the West Indies still had an excellent side for some years afterwards.
The 1999 series was proof of this. It was a thoroughly entertaining spectacle between two great sides and in the end it was tied two all with Australia retaining the Frank-Worrell trophy and McGrath playing a vital role in ensuring this was the case.
McGrath took four five-wicket hauls in the series, outshining the likes of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. His value to the side was identified by Steve Waugh, who bowled him 199.4 overs across the series, more than 80 overs more than the next Australian.
13 of his 30 wickets were leg before, highlighting McGrath's mastery of stump-to-stump bowling.
The series turned out to be the last time the West Indies would truly challenge Australia, but without McGrath they may well have won.