Top 10 fastest bowlers of 2018 in the Test format
The year of 2018 has been a great year for Test cricket. While Virat Kohli led the batting charts in 2018, Kagiso Rabada and Jasprit Bumrah were the pacers who attracted the most eyeballs. A team's ability to win a Test match relies on the ability to bowl the opposition not once but twice.
Of the 1626 wickets picked up in 2018, 973 were picked up by the pacers. While Indian pacers were the best with 179 wickets, the South African pacers were second on their list with 147 wickets. In this article, we take a look at the 10 fastest bowlers of 2018 in the longest format.
*Only bowlers who played 10 or more innings in 2018 were considered*
Stats: The Hindu
#10 Umesh Yadav (India) - Average speed: 136.5 kmph
In 2018, Umesh Yadav did not get many opportunities as he would have liked but he did not let his pace drop. 67.90% of his deliveries were in the range of 135 kmph to 145 kmph. His fastest delivery, reached the batsman at a searing pace of 156.5 kmph, was also the fastest one bowled by the top 10 fastest bowlers in 2018.
His best figures came of the year in the first Test against the West Indies as he picked up 10 wickets in the match. Umesh Yadav was India's only pacer in the match as Shardul Thakur had to leave the field after an injury. While spinners picked four wickets in the first innings, the rest were bagged by the Vidharbha pacer. In the second innings, he took four more wickets and helped India bowl Windies out for +*+---------------------------------------------------------------------------------just 127 runs.
Innings: 10, Overs: 126.5, Wickets: 20, Average: 21.40, Fastest: 156.5 kmph
#9 Josh Hazlewood (Australia) - Average speed: 136.6 kmph
Josh Hazlewood missed international cricket for many months of 2018 but he was fully fit for Australia's matches against South Africa early in the year and against India in December. He was consistent on most occasions picking up at least one wicket in 14 of the 16 innings that he played.
In total, he played eight matches for Australia in 2018 and picked up 26 wickets at an average of 33.26. In these eight matches, he bowled a total of 317.2 overs at an average speed of 136.6 kmph. While he bowled 68.30% of his deliveries above 135 kmph, his fastest delivery in 2018 was of 146.3 kmph.
Innings: 16, Overs: 317.2, Wickets: 26, Average: 33.26, Fastest: 146.3 kmph
#8 Morne Morkel (South Africa) - Average speed: 137 kmph
Morne Morkel retired from Test cricket after playing 6 Tests in 2018. Even at the fag end of his career, 67.70% of his deliveries were above the 135 kmph mark. He bowled a total of 188.5 overs and out of all these deliveries the fastest one raced towards the batsmen at 149 kmph.
His best performance of the year came in his penultimate Test match against Australia at Cape Town. In the first innings, he took four wickets and gave his team a first innings lead of 56 runs. In their second innings, South Africa posted 373 runs and set the visitors a target of 430 runs but the visitors were blown away by Morkel's performance. The lanky fast bowler's five-wicket haul meant that Aussies were bowled out for just 107 runs.
Innings: 12, Overs: 188.5, Wickets: 28, Average: 19.78, Fastest: 149 kmph
#6 Mohammed Shami (India) - Average speed: 137.2 kmph
During the course of the last year, Mohammed Shami performed more consistently than he ever did before. As a result of the consistent performances in the longer format, he is not making a strong case for himself for the 2019 World Cup. In 12 matches, Shami picked up 47 wickets and is the third highest wicket-taker in 2018.
While Shami's fastest delivery was 149 kmph, 70.10% of his deliveries had a pace in the range of 135 kmph and 145 kmph. In 2018, Shami had registered two five-wicket hauls in overseas conditions. While his 5-28 against South Africa at Johannesburg helped India register their only win in the African continent, his five-wicket haul against Australia at Perth came in India's only loss Down Under.
Innings: 23, Overs: 383.5, Wickets: 47, Average: 26.97, Fastest: 149 kmph