During the opening Test of the 3-match series between South Africa and India, the hosts assembled a formidable bowling attack to exploit the conditions on offer at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town. Even though comeback man Dale Steyn could not quite last the match, he briefly formed a daunting seam unit with the likes of Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada.
Considering Steyn's recent history of injuries as well as South Africa's affinity for team balance, such a robust bowling combination might just have endured a solitary match. The quartet could have joined a distinguished set.
In such regard, let us revisit the five best bowling attacks assembled in the history of Test cricket. Emphasis has been placed on those instances when four great bowlers operated together. While peak phases of all four bowlers in a given combination may not necessarily overlap, the overall potency of the attack has been factored into account.
#5 Imran Khan/Wasim Akram/Waqar Younis/Abdul Qadir
By the time Waqar Younis made his Test debut towards the end of the 1980s, Wasim Akram had already established himself as Pakistan's pace heartthrob. The legendary duo, who would go on to form one of the most devastating seam pairings ever, played alongside the exalted Imran Khan in quite a few matches. The three iconic fast bowlers joined hands with ace leg-spinner Abdul Qadir to form a complete attack in four Tests spanning across 1989 and 1990.
Admittedly, Imran was past his best during those four particular matches and featured predominantly as a batting all-rounder. However, the prospect of facing three of Pakistan's greatest pacers greeted Indian batsmen during the first and fourth Test of the 1989 series. Despite the presence of the pace troika as well as wrist-spinner Qadir, both matches ended in stalemate.
The foursome bowled Pakistan to a memorable eight-wicket victory against the domineering West Indies side at Karachi and subsequently eked out a creditable drawn series. In the four matches that they played together, Akram topped the bowling charts with 27 wickets at a remarkable average of 17.85.