Who is the fastest bowler to reach 500 wickets in Tests?

(L - R) Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and James Anderson. P/C- AFP and Reuters
(L - R) Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and James Anderson. P/C- AFP and Reuters

The ongoing Test match between India and England in Ahmedabad is one of those rare instances where two bowlers who have picked 500+ wickets are bowling in the same game. James Anderson and Stuart Broad opened the bowling attack for the visitors today after England were bowled out cheaply for 112 in the first innings.

Only seven bowlers in the history of Test cricket have taken 500 wickets or more. Muttiah Muralitharan from Sri Lanka holds the record of reaching the milestone in record number of matches (87 Tests).

The Sri Lankan off-spinner is also the fastest to reach 500 wickets in terms of time taken since debut (11 years and 201 days). The second fastest in this criteria is Australia's Glenn McGrath, who got to the 500-wicket mark in (11 years and 251 days.) He reached the mark in 110 Tests.

Apart from Muralitharan, no other bowler in the game's history has claimed 500 wickets in less than 100 Test matches.

Anil Kumble from India is second on the list if number of Tests are considered, having taken 500 wickets in his 105th Test. The India leg-spinner marked the occasion with a special performance as he won the Man of the Match for picking 9 wickets in the game against England in 2006, along with reaching his 500 wicket milestone.

Fastest bowlers to take 500 Test wickets in terms of matches

Muttiah Muralitharan - 87 Tests

Anil Kumble - 105 Tests

Shane Warne- 108 Tests

Glenn McGrath- 110 Tests

Courtney Walsh- 129 Tests

James Anderson- 129 Tests

Stuart Broad- 140 Tests

Shane Warne's numbers are all the more impressive as he played a good chunk of his cricket in Australian conditions where spinners are not often as effective as in subcontinent conditions. Out of his 708 Test wickets, Warne picked up 319 in Australia.

Glenn McGrath terrorised the opposition with his consistent line and length, and it is no surprise that he is on this list. The Australian is the fastest seamer to have reached 500 wickets in Tests.

Courtney Walsh was the first-ever bowler to breach the 500-wicket mark in Test history. The West Indies fast bowler reached the milestone in 2001 against South Africa. The right-arm fast bowler is also the slowest till date to reach the mark in terms of time taken since his debut (16 years and 128 days)

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are the other two players on the list, and the duo are still going strong at the top level. Their skills and longevity are undoubtedly admirable. Anderson is also the only fast bowler till date to take 600+ wickets in Tests.

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Edited by S Chowdhury
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