The first one and a half decades of this century belonged to the batsmen, as conditions became more and more favorable to them. Averages increased and scores in all formats went higher and higher. But as we have come to the end of the decade, we are seeing a re-emergence of high-quality fast bowling.
2019 was an especially good year for bowlers, mainly those of the fast bowling variety, as many of them reached high peaks of performance. The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins and Stuart Broad continued to be top performers. But they were also joined by the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer, who proved their mettle to the world.
So as we come to the end of 2019, let us look back at the 5 best bowling performances witnessed this year. The assessment is based not just on raw figures, but also on the match situation, opposition, conditions and the quality of bowling.
5. Neil Wagner (5/44 vs England, Mount Maunganui)
Most people would think a medium-pace bowler can’t bounce out a batsman. However, New Zealand’s South Africa-born seamer Neil Wagner has made a career out of proving this idea wrong. Known for his unstinting tenacity and unrelenting perseverance, Wagner is the ideal bowler to have when the pitch isn’t doing anything.
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His bull-headed approach was fully on display against England in the first Test of a two-match series at Mount Maunganui. On a pitch that was completely flat and had seen his own team pile up a score of 615/9 declared, Wagner ran in tirelessly and kept banging the ball short. While those short balls didn’t necessarily get him wickets, they softened up the batsmen.
The left-arm seamer ended with a much-deserved five-for and sealed his team’s victory. This one win was enough for his side to capture the series 1-0.