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5 fielders with the most Test catches

Dravid and Dhoni in a Test against England
Dravid and Dhoni in a Test against England
James Roche

For every good bowler, there needs to be an equally good fielder to take catches. Players are unlikely to be selected for Tests on their catching ability alone, but it is certainly a valuable skill for them to have.

The best catchers are usually placed in the slips and all the following players have been slip fielders during their careers. After the wicket-keeper, the slip fielders are the most important fielders in a Test match, just because of the number of chances that come their way.

Without a good slip fielder, how many wickets would Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne have taken?

On that note, here is a look at the five fielders with the most catches in Test cricket:

#5 Mark Waugh (181 in 128 matches)

Australia v New Zealand
Australia v New Zealand

Mark is the twin brother of former Australian captain Steve Waugh. He played most of his career with his brother and also under his captaincy, and while Steve was the better batsman, Mark led the way in terms of fielding statistics.

An interesting point in Waugh's career was when he and Mark Taylor opened on debut against Tasmania. The match was drawn but it was more notable for an incident on the third morning when the new opening pair overslept on Taylor's twenty-first birthday.

They were punished by coach Bob Simpson with fielding drills, who forced the pair to take hundreds of catches. This is likely to have been a factor in Waugh's development as a world-class catcher.

He was primarily positioned at second slip when a fast bowler was operating, and would often field at silly-point off a spin bowler.

Also Read - Most Catches In Test

#4 Ricky Ponting (196 in 128 matches)

Ricky Ponting takes a catch
Ricky Ponting takes a catch

For the early part of his career, Ponting played alongside Waugh and therefore had to compete for catching opportunities. Like Waugh, he would field in the slips but Ponying eventually replaced him at silly-point after his retirement.

Ponting was known for his dedicated fielding practice making him an agile and explosive fielder. In addition to his 196 Test catches, his good eye and accurate throws often saw him run batsmen out with direct hits. He ran batsmen out 80 times in his 560 international matches.

However, the most famous run-out involving the Tasmanian was when substitute fielder Gary Pratt ran him out during the 2005 Ashes series.

#3 Jacques Kallis (200 in 166 matches)

Enter
Kallis takes a catch as de Villiers watches on

Kallis was a superb performer with both bat and ball, meaning he is one of the greatest all-rounders of all-time. The key test for any great all-rounder is whether they would get into the team as a bowler and batter alone, and the South African certainly could.

His catching record meant that he was also an all-round cricketer. When not bowling, he would field in the slips and his record of 200 catches is the third of all time.

His record is even more impressive when his bowling record is considered. As the third or fourth seamer for his country, his time in the slips was clearly more limited than others.

#2 Mahela Jayawardene (205 in 149 matches)

Jayawardene catching Butcher
Jayawardene catching Butcher

The Sri Lankan has the highest catches per innings ratio of any of the top five on this list. He scores 0.759 and is followed by Waugh, with 0.738 catches per innings.

A fine all-round fielder, and combined with his batting, Jayawardene was an important part of the Sri-Lankan Test side.

Statistics also reveal that "c Jayawardene b Muralitharan" is the most common bowler-fielder combination in the history of Test cricket. Spin-bowler Muttiah Muralitharan has taken the most Test wickets to date.

Jayawardene also holds the record for taking the most number fielding catcher in all forms of cricket at 440, and is still the only one to pass 400.

#1 Rahul Dravid (210 in 164 matches)

England v India: 1st npower Test - Day Two
Dravid's catch to dismiss Pietersen

Averaging 52.31 in Test cricket with the bat, Rahul Dravid tops the records for most catches in Test cricket with 210.

He has held the record since 2012, and it seems unlikely that it will be broken anytime soon. Alastair Cook is the closest player (who is still playing) to Dravid, but he is still 55 catches behind The Wall.

Dravid was also an occasional wicket-keeper in international cricket. After retirement, he claimed that he was never a natural performer behind the stumps, but it is a testament to his catching ability.

Edited by Anuradha Santhanam

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