Top 10 Unforgettable Bowling Figures in Test Cricket History

From Spin to Seam: Test Cricket's Legendary Bowling Feats

6 Min Read

Bowling, often an unsung hero in cricket, has the power to change the outcome of a game in a matter of minutes. The real magic happens when a bowler takes the most wickets, especially when in a singular inning of a Test match. It’s those epic moments when the bowler’s rhythm, the pace of the ball, and the stadium’s energy align perfectly. Such historic feats are what make cricket a sport of legends. In this article, we’re about to journey through the ten most outstanding bowling figures in Test cricket history.

Jim Laker, the iconic English spinner, holds the title of the best Test bowling figure, achieving a 10-wicket haul against Australia while rolling out only 51.2 overs. His bowling economy for that game stood at an impressive 1.03. While his achievement stands tall, performances like Anil Kumble’s 10-wicket haul against Pakistan in 1999 and Ajaz Patel’s equivalent feat against India are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Even though these records are etched in history, with emerging talent from all cricket-playing nations, the hope lingers that we might see these records being surpassed soon.

Best Bowling Figures in Test History – 2023 Updates


10. Muttiah Muralitharan – 9/65 [1998] & 9/51 [2002]


Muttiah Muralitharan

Born in Sri Lanka in 1972 and with an estimated net worth of $22 million, Muttiah Muralitharan remains one of cricket’s legends. With a career spanning nearly two decades, he has multiple record-breaking stints under his belt. On 27th August 1998 at the Oval, he mesmerized the English team with his off-spin, securing 9 wickets for just 65 runs in 54.2 overs. Another noteworthy performance was against Zimbabwe in Kandy, where he managed 9 wickets for a mere 51 runs.


9. Devon Malcolm – 9/57 [1994]

Devon Malcolm

Devon Malcolm, born in Jamaica in 1963 but representing England, has an estimated net worth of $5 million. With a career spanning over a decade, Malcolm is often considered one of the finest fast bowlers. His best came against South Africa in 1994 at the Oval when he took 9 wickets, allowing only 57 runs.

8. Abdul Qadir – 9/56 [1987]

Abdul Qadir

Abdul Qadir, born in 1955 in Pakistan, was a wizard with leg-spin. His remarkable performance against England at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore is still remembered, where he took 9 wickets while giving away just 56 runs in 1987.

7. Richard Hadlee – 9/52 [1985]

Richard Hadlee

New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee, born in 1951 and with a net worth of $10 million, showcased an outstanding performance against Australia in 1985. Taking 9 wickets for 52 runs in Brisbane, he solidified his legacy as one of cricket’s finest all-rounders.

6. Muttiah Muralitharan – 9/51 [2002]

Muttiah Muralitharan

Returning to our list is the maestro Muttiah Muralitharan. This time, it’s for his spellbinding performance against Zimbabwe in Kandy, 2002. Bowling a formidable 40 overs, he managed to claim 9 wickets while parting with just 51 runs.

5. Jim Laker – 9/37 [1956]

Jim Laker

Jim Laker, the former English off-spinner born in 1922, was a force to be reckoned with. Known for his precision and skill, he demonstrated his prowess against Australia in Manchester in 1956, where he dismissed 9 batsmen for a mere 37 runs.

4. George Lohmann – 9/28 [1896]

George Lohmann

One of the early cricket legends, George Lohmann, who was born in 1865 in England, spun a web around the South African batsmen in Johannesburg in 1896. Claiming 9 wickets while conceding only 28 runs, his achievement is even more noteworthy considering the 5-ball per over rule of that era.

3. Ajaz Patel – 10/119 [2021]

Ajaz Patel

Ajaz Yunus Patel, the left-arm orthodox spinner with Kiwi and Indian origins, was born in 1988. In December 2021, he etched his name in history by claiming all 10 wickets of the Indian team in Mumbai, conceding only 119 runs in the process.

2. Anil Kumble – 10/74 [1999]

Anil Kumble

India’s Anil Kumble, born in 1970 and boasting an estimated net worth of $15 million, showcased a masterclass against Pakistan in Delhi, 1999. He became only the second bowler in history to take all 10 wickets in a Test inning, giving away just 74 runs.

1. Jim Laker – 10/53 [1956]

Jim Laker

The top spot unsurprisingly goes to Jim Laker for his unparalleled performance against Australia in Manchester, 1956. With an economy of just 1.03, he bowled 51.2 overs to claim all 10 wickets, giving away only 53 runs.

Honorable Mention: Jasubhai Patel – 9/69 [1959]

An outstanding figure in Indian cricket history, Jasubhai Patel was born in 1924. Against Australia in 1959 in Kanpur, he displayed a bowling masterclass, taking 9 wickets for 69 runs in a single inning. With a career-best of 14 wickets in that Test match, Patel’s performance remains etched in cricketing folklore.