Who has taken the most wickets of top order batsmen who batted from position 1 to 3 in test cricket? It is said that in Test cricket opening bowlers set the platform on the opening day for their teams by castling opposition teams top-order batsmen early.But for that you need to have the skill of either moving the ball with the hand or off the pitch or spinning the ball right from the start of an innings. Some bowlers have developed that habit of picking up top-order batsmen regularly throughout out their careers in Test cricket.These wickets are possibly the most important in a Test innings, because once the first three wickets are down, the batting team is merely trying for a respectable total rather than a dominating one.Here, we have presented 5 Test bowlers with most top-order (1-3) wickets.
#5 Anil Kumble - 173 Wickets
Unlike his contemporaries Murali and Warne, Kumble was not a big turner of the ball, he rather relied much on pace and accuracy. His ability to make the ball bounce with subtle variations in pace made him a tough bowler to face for the batsmen; thus earning him the sobriquet "Jumbo".
He had played 132 Test matches for India in which he had taken 619 wickets. He had troubled many top-order batsmen and his favourite bunnies among top-order batsmen (1-3) were Sri Lanka’s Roshan Mahanama and South Africa’s Andrew Hudson; Kumble had got out both on 7 occasions.
He had taken 175 wickets of top-order batsmen out of his total career 619 wickets. Kumble holds the record of bowling 40850 balls in his entire Test career, which is highest for an Indian and second highest overall.
Here is a table that shows Kumble’s top 5 bunnies in Test cricket.
|Player name||Country||No.of innings played against Anil Kumble||No.of times out against Anil Kumble|
|Roshan Mahanama||Sri Lanka||17||7|
|Aravinda de Silva||Sri Lanka||18||7|
|Andrew Hudson||South Africa||20||7|
#4 Kapil Dev - 175 Wickets
For a nation starved of fast bowlers, the advent of Kapil Dev was a godsend. His batting was pretty handy as well, but there's little doubt that his major contribution was as a pace bowler, offering India an attacking option with the new ball that they had sorely lacked till then. He had played 131 Test matches for India in which he had taken 434 wickets and made 5248 runs, the precise reason why he has been known as India’s best all-rounder till this day.
He was India's main strike bowler for the most of his career. He had troubled many top-order batsmen in his career and his favourite bunny in Test cricket was Pakistan’s opener Mudassar Nazar; he got Nazar 12 times in 27 innings in which they played against each other. He had taken 175 wickets of top-order batsmen (1-3) from among his 434 Test wickets.
Here is a table that shows Kapil’s top 5 bunnies in Test cricket.
|Player name||Country||No.of innings played against Kapil Dev||No.of times out against Kapil Dev|
|Malcolm Marshall||West Indies||29||10|
#3 Courtney Walsh - 177 Wickets
Courtney Walsh is known for his remarkable opening bowling partnership with Curtly Ambrose from 1984 to 2001. He shared 421 wickets with Ambrose in 49 Test matches. He had played 132 Test matches for West Indies and taken 519 wickets. On many occasions, his bowling was responsible for the West Indies winning matches which seemed lost, particularly in association with Curtly Ambrose.
As a leader of the pace attack of his team, he had troubled many opposition batsmen and captured 177 wickets of top order batsmen (1-3) from among his total 519 wickets. His most favoured bunny was Mike Atherton and he got his wicket 17 times in 50 innings in which they played against each other.
Other than Mike, he also troubled top-order batsmen like Gary Kirsten, Navjot Singh Sidhu etc. throughout his career. Walsh is a much loved and respected cricketer and the West Indies have arguably yet to find a fast bowler with anything close to approaching his talents.
Here is a table that includes Walsh’s favourite 5 bunnies in Test cricket.
|Player name||Country||No.of Innings against Walsh||No.of times out against Walsh|
|Ian Healy||New Zealand||53||15|
#2 Muttiah Muralitharan - 202 Wickets
It is obvious that you see him in this list because he had taken 800 wickets in his career of 133 Test matches that he played for Sri Lanka. Averaging over six wickets per Test, he is one of the most successful bowlers of cricket. He was also the first wrist spinning off-spinner in the history of the game. He holds the record for fastest player to take 350, 400, 450, 500, 550, 600, 650, 700, 750 and 800 wickets in cricket in terms of matches played.
He was for Sri Lanka what Sachin Tendulkar for India during his career. He had troubled many batsmen in his career and as far as top order batsman is concerned, he had troubled Zimbabwe’s opening batsmen Grant Flower more than other and got him 10 times in 22 innings in which they played against each other.
Other than Flower, he troubled England’s opening batsman Marcus Trescothick many times and got him out 8 times. He was last seen in action in the All-Star cricket series which was held in the USA. He had taken a total of 202 wickets of top-order batsmen out of his 800 Test career wickets.
Here is a table that shows Murali’s top 5 bunnies in Test cricket.
|Player Name||Country||No.of Innings against Muralitharan||No.of times out against Muralitharan|
|Mark Boucher||South Africa||24||12|
#1 Glenn McGrath - 225 Wickets
Glenn McGrath was known for his colossal accuracy with the ball in line and length throughout his career. He was a vital member of Australia’s team which dominated world cricket from mid-1990s to the early 21st century. Glenn McGrath may not have had a high pace like his team-mate Brett Lee but he relied on subtle seam movement due to his high wrist action and follow through in his career of 124 Test matches for Australia.
He opened the bowling for Australia during his career, thereby being a leader of the pace attack. He had troubled many opening batsmen, most memorably England’s Mike Atherton – against each other they played 34 innings, and Glenn McGrath got him out 19 times. He had also troubled former West Indian opener Sherwin Campbell and got him 10 times in 30 innings in which they played against each other.
Like these two, out of his 563 wickets in 124 Test matches that he played for Australia from 1993 to 2007, he got 225 wickets of top order batsmen (1-3) who played Test cricket for their respective teams.
Here is a table that shows Glenn McGrath’s top 5 bunnies in Test cricket.
|Player Name||Country||No.of Innings against McGrath||No.of times out against McGrath|
|Brian Lara||West Indies||48||15|
|Jimmy Adams||West Indies||36||12|
|Sherwin Campbell||West Indies||30||11|