Top 5 bowling figures in the history of women's Tests

England v Australia - LV= Insurance Women
Ashleigh Gardner recorded the second-best figures ever in a women's Test

Women's Test matches aren't as frequent as they should be, so some of the records in this record have stood for long periods of time. Of course, some of that is to do with the matches traditionally being four-day games instead of five-day affairs like it is in men's Tests.

One major women's Test record was broken recently in the one-off Women's Ashes Test where Australia defeated England by 89 runs. The game was only the second five-day Test match in women's cricket history, and the first of its kind played on English soil.

There were plenty of records broken during the one-off Test that kicked off the multi-format Women's Ashes series. Despite Tammy Beaumont becoming the first England woman to score a double-century and Sophie Ecclestone's maiden 10-wicket haul, the hosts couldn't get over the line.

It was Ashleigh Gardner who stole the limelight with her Player of the Match performance, leading the charge with the ball to help Australia to a memorable win. She finished with figures of 12/165 in the match, which included an 8-wicket haul in the second innings.

That was only the second time a female bowler has taken eight wickets in an innings in a women's Test match. It is now the second-best bowling figures in an innings of a women's Test.

Who is first, you ask? Well, here are the five best bowling figures in an innings in women's Test matches.

#1 Neetu David - 8/53 vs England, 1995

Neetu David
Neetu David

The left-arm spinner from India still holds the record for the best bowling figures in an innings of a women's Test match. The long-standing record was set in a thrilling Test against England in 1995 in Jamshedpur, where the visitors eventually won by 2 runs.

After taking a 67-run lead in the first innings, India were set a target of 128 runs in the final innings of the match. It was Neetu David's phenomenal spell of 8/53 that helped the hosts take control of the proceedings, but it ended in vain as they couldn't quite get over the line.

#2 Ashleigh Gardner - 8/66 vs England, 2023

Ashleigh Gardner is one of the best all-rounders in the women's circuit right now and she once again showed why that is the case. Having not made an effective contribution with the bat, she made a match-winning impact with the ball in hand in both innings.

She bagged four wickets in the first innings and was one of Australia's better bowlers as England mounted a score of 463 runs. However, it was a different story in the second innings. With the hosts having to chase a target of 268 runs, the off-spinner ran riot and bagged eight wickets in the final innings of the game to give her side the win.

#3 Mary Duggan - 7/6 vs Australia, 1958

In what might have been one of the most enthralling matches, England and Australia battled it out in an absolute classic. Mary Duggan, the left-arm spinner from England, ran riot in the first innings with figures of 7/6 as they bundled out Australia for a miserly total of 38.

England were bundled out for 35 in the second innings, to make it one of the most bizarre starts to a Test match. Australia set a target of 206 in the fourth innings, and England managed to hang in there at 76/8, securing a draw.

#4 Betty Wilson - 7/7 vs England, 1958

In the same game, Betty Wilson delivered one of the all-time great performances by an all-rounder. After Australia were bundled out for 38, courtesy of Mary Duggan's incredible spell, Wilson matched her stride for stride. The off-spinner bagged figures of 7/7 to dismantle England for 35 to make sure her side gains a 2-run lead.

Not only that, Wilson also scored a century in the third innings of the game to make sure Australia post a target of 206 on the board. Often regarded as the female Don Bradman, the Victorian is regarded as one of the greatest female players of her time.

#5 Myrtle Maclagan - 7/10 vs Australia, 1934

England sealed a comprehensive victory in this game against Australia at Brisbane. Bowling first, they dismissed the hosts for a total of 47, courtesy of Myrtle Maclagan's superb spell when she returned with figures of 7/10, dismantling the Australian top-order.

Maclagan then opened the batting and scored 72, giving her side a significant lead in the second innings as England mustered 154. In reply, Australia could only provide a target of 32 runs, which was comfortably chased down as England won the game by 9 wickets.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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