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Top 10 best bowling figures in Test cricket

The bowlers win test matches after the batters set up the matches for them. The importance of the bowlers in the game cannot be overemphasized as teams with better bowling lineups tend to do better in Test cricket. Below we go through the best Top 10 best bowling figures in Test cricket history in descending order.

10.  Jasubhai Patel 9/69 v Aus 1959

Jasu Patel was a big name in Indian domestic cricket in the late 1950s and his skilful off-spin bowling at Kanpur where he took 9/69 in 36 overs with 16 maidens against a powerful Australian side is forever etched in the memory of Indian cricket.  He was the first Indian to take 9 wickets in an innings in Tests. Patel played only 7 tests for India and took 29 wickets.

9. Muthiah Muralitharan  9/65 v Eng 1998 

The highest wicket-taker in test cricket history with 800 wickets is the owner of the 9th best bowling figures in test history which he achieved against England at the Oval. The strong England batting lineup was bamboozled by the off-spin skills of Murali who to Sri Lanka to a big win in that test.

Top 10 best bowling figures in Test cricket
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8.  Devon Malcolm   9/57 v RSA  1994 

Devon Malcolm did not have a long test career with England having taken 128  test wickets in 40 games but his electric spell of 9/57 vs South Africa at the Oval was a result of a sustained hostile fast bowling at a high pace which totally decimated the Proteas in that test. 

7. Abdul Qadir  9/56 v Eng 1987

The Pakistani leg-spin wizard with 237 test wickets  totally bamboozled English batters at the Gaddafi Stadium at Lahore to claim his best bowling figures after bowling 37 overs of high skilled leg-spin and helped Pakistan to win the series. Qadir has taken 236 wickets in 67 tests.

6. Richard Hadlee  9/52 v Aus  1985

One of the great all-rounders, Richard Hadlee was at his brilliant best against his trans-Tasman rivals Australia at the Gabba in 1985. He totally decimated the Aussies taking 9 wickets in the first innings with high skilled fast bowling and took 15 wickets in the match for a great New Zealand win.  Hadlee took 431 wickets in 86 tests.

Top 10 best bowling figures in Test cricket
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5. Muthiah Muralitharan  9/51 v Zim 2002

For the 2nd time, Murali has appeared in the top 10 best bowling list. This time another unplayable spell of 9/51 against Zimbabwe at Kandy in 2002. The African nation had a good batting lineup in that era.  

4.  Jim Laker  9/37 v Eng  1956

Jim Laker was a famous England off-spinner who decimated Australia in both innings of the famous Manchester test of 1956. He took 9/37 in the 1st innings with high skilled off-spin bowling to blow away. The Aussies on his way to a famous world record.

3. George Lohmann  9/28 v RSA  1896

Way back in 1896  George Lohmann of England took 9 wickets in just 14.2 overs of fast-medium bowling to destroy South Africa in the Johannesburg Test. He held this World record for 60 years till Jim Laker bettered it.  Lohmann has taken 112 wickets in just 18 tests.

2. Anil Kumble   10/74 v Pak 1999

This feat is remembered by the Indians with great fondness.  India down 0-1 in the series was playing Pakistan at Delhi in 1999 and in the 4th innings Kumble’s accurate leg-spin totally blew away Pakistan as he took all ten wickets in an innings in just 26.3 overs for 74 runs to square the series for India and thus becoming only the 2nd bowler in test history to get 10 wickets in an innings. 


1. Jim Laker   10/56 v Aus 1956

Jim Laker, 65 years on, still remains the bowler with the best bowling figures in Test cricket. It was in that famous Manchester test in 1956 when he took 19 wickets in 2 innings, an all-time world record which looks unlikely to be paralleled. The Aussies were all at sea in that 2nd  innings when Laker with his deadly offspin took an all-time best 10/53 in 51.2 overs and 23 maidens to add to his 9/37 in the 1st innings of the same match. Laker has taken 193 wickets in 46 tests.

Top 10 best bowling figures in Test cricket
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