Stats: Yasir Shah becomes the fastest spinner to take 150 Test wickets
Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has created history by becoming the fastest spinner in the history of Test cricket to complete 150 wickets. The 31-year old broke former Australian spinner Clarrie Grimmett's 83-year old record when he trapped Lahiru Thirimanne in front during the opening session of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Overall, Yasir is the joint-second quickest to the landmark of 150 Test wickets alongside fellow countryman Waqar Younis. Just like the legendary fast bowler, the wrist-spinner also achieved the milestone in his 27th match. Having taken only 24 matches to accomplish the feat, iconic England medium-pacer Sydney Barnes leads the all-time list by a comfortable margin. Among spinners, Grimmett earlier held the record before Yasir eventually surpassed his feat. The Australian leg-spinner had needed just 28 matches to pick up 150 scalps.
A host of bowlers including the likes of Hugh Tayfield, Ian Botham, Dale Steyn, Saeed Ajmal and Ravichandran Ashwin required 29 Tests to complete 150 wickets. The Australian trio of Dennis Lillee, Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill all achieved the landmark in 31 matches. Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja had a recently completed the feat. The left-armer reached the milestone in his 32nd Test which came against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo during August.
Coming into the game with 149 scalps, Yasir helped Pakistan make early inroads against a frail Sri Lankan batting lineup in the series opener at Abu Dhabi. In the pre-lunch session on the first day, the Swabi-born bowler outfoxed Thirimanne with a quicker delivery. He went on to pick up his 151st wicket when Kusal Mendis edged a straighter one to wicket-keeper captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
Last year, Yasir had become the joint-second fastest bowler in Test history to pick up 100 wickets. He recorded the landmark in his 17th match which came against West Indies at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Interestingly, Grimmett and Barnes had also completed that particular milestone in their respective 17th Tests.
Due to successive tough away assignments in New Zealand and Australia, Yasir experienced a rare dip in form during the 2016/17 season. However, the leg-spinner bounced back in the away series against West Indies by helping Pakistan win their maiden Test series in the Caribbean region. While it has taken 10 Tests for him to move from 100 to 150, Barnes had needed a meagre 7 matches to set a seemingly insurmountable record. Among spinners, Grimmett had required 11 games to reach 150 scalps from the 100-wicket mark.
Yasir has a solid chance to become the fastest bowler to pick up 200 Test wickets. The Pakistani star can overtake Grimmett's mark of 36 matches if he picks up 49 more wickets from 9 games (including the ongoing Test against Sri Lanka wherein he is currently on 151 scalps). It is worth noting that Indian spin ace Ashwin had reached the 200-wicket mark in his 37th Test.