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Unbreakable Test records held by Muttiah Muralitharan

SRIRAM RAJAN
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
637   //    Timeless

Muttiah Muralitharan was in action for about 18 years
Muttiah Muralitharan was in action for about 18 years

Muttiah Muralitharan is one of the most successful bowlers in the Test cricket, averaging over six wickets per Test match. He made his debut on August 28, 1990, at the age of 20, against Australia and has since gone on to break records in Test cricket.

In 2017, he became the only Sri Lankan player to be included into the ICC Hall of Fame. By the time he had retired, he had held the No 1 spot in ICC's player rankings for Test bowlers for a whooping 1,711 days.

The spin wizard has been a one-man bowling attack for Sri Lanka and the records he's collected while doing so are unlikely to be broken in the modern era of cricket.

Most Test Wickets

The off-spinner has a record 800 Test wickets from just 166 Tests during a career that spanned 18 years from 1992-2010. Craig McDermott was his first Test wicket and Pragyan Ojha his final. Shane Warne and Anil Kumble follow him in the top three with 708 and 619 wickets, respcetively.

As of now, he still remains the fastest bowler to reach 350, 400, 450, 500, 600 and 700 Test wickets. It is improbable that Murali's record will be broken considering he was active for almost two decades years, a difficult task in modern cricket.

Most Number of Balls

In order to know just how improbable this record is, one only needs to look at the gap between first and second place. Murali has an bowled an incredible 44,039 balls in Test cricket. That's about 7,340 overs over 230 innings and an an average of 32 overs in each innings. In second place is Kumble with 40,850 deliveries, a whopping 3,189 balls, or about 530 overs, less that Murali. Warne with 40,705 balls is third in this list.

Most 5-wicket and 10-wicket Hauls

He has 67 five-wicket hauls over 133 Tests, or one every two Tests. Though Shane Warne appeared in 12 more Tests, he has only 37 five-wicket performances. Murali's best figures in a single innings is 9/51 against Zimbabwe in 2002.

He's also taken 10 wickets in a Test match on 22 occasions, while Warne has done it 10 times. Murali's best figures in a single Test is 16/220 against England in August 1998. Richard Hadlee makes up the top threr with 36 five-wicket and nine ten-wicket performances.

Some More Records

Muralitharan, being the bowler he was, also owns a number of statistical high points.

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• He has taken 9 wickets in a Test innings twice, shares that record with Jim Laker of England.

• He is the only player to take over 100 wickets at three venues.

• He holds the record for most Test wickets at home with 493 wickets.

• He has taken 10 wickets in a Test in four consecutive matches, twice.

Even playing 100 Tests is a big task for many modern-day bowlers and with flatter pitches and shorter boundaries looking like the future, the chances of these records being broken remain unlikely.

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