Test matches are the longest format of cricket. Qualities like patience, courage, adventure and determination are the hallmarks of a successful Test cricketer. Bowlers, especially, due to the cautious batting approach, need to align themselves with these attributes to emerge successful in the five-day format.

Only seven bowlers in Test cricket history have crossed the 500-wicket mark. West Indies pacer Courtney Walsh, known for his express pace, became the first cricketer to scalp 500 wickets in Test cricket. Walsh reached the landmark against South Africa in his 129th Test in March 2001.

Meanwhile, Australian legend Sharne Warne was the second player with 500 Test wickets, achieving the feat in 108 Tests. While Warne etched himself in the history books on March 8, 2004, against Sri Lanka, the Lankan legend Muthiah Muralidaran also joined the ‘500 Test wickets’ club in the following Test match of that series.

Ever since, Muthiah Muralidaran is the fastest to 500 wickets in Test cricket, having crossed the landmark in only 87 matches. 

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was the second-fastest to 500 wickets in Test cricket. Ashwin took just 98 Test matches to enter the elite list. Apart from Muthiah Muralidaran, Ashwin is the only other cricketer to get there in less than 100 Tests.

For India, Ravichandran Ashwin and Anil Kumble are the two bowlers with 500-plus Test wickets. Kumble joined the list in only 105 matches, making him the third-fastest.

Fastest to 500 wickets in Test cricket





Time since debut

Muthiah Muralidaran

Sri Lanka


March 16, 2004

11y, 201d

Ravichandran Ashwin



February 16, 2024

12y, 102d

Anil Kumble



March 9, 2006

15y, 212d

Shane Warne



March 8, 2004

12y, 66d

Glenn McGrath



July 21, 2005

11y, 251d

Courtney Walsh

West Indies


March 17, 2001

16y, 128d

James Anderson



September 7, 2017

14y, 108d

Stuart Broad



July 24, 2020

12y, 228d

Muthiah Muralidaran (Sri Lanka) - 500 Test wickets in 87 matches

The Sri Lankan legend Muthiah Muralidaran scalped 500 wickets in only 87 matches. While Warne had beaten the record held by Walsh of 129 matches earlier in the 2004 Australia tour of Sri Lanka, Muralidaran broke Warne’s record of 108 matches in the following Test.

The wily Lankan spinner, who left many batters perplexed over the course of his career, remains the fastest to 500 wickets to date, a record that has stood for almost two decades. Muralidaran also boasts the most wickets in Test cricket history, picking up 800 wickets, 92 more than Warne, who is ranked second in that list.

Ravichandran Ashwin (India) - 500 Test wickets in 97 matches

India's Ravichandran Ashwin was the second-fastest to 500 wickets in Test cricket. Ashwin bagged 500 Test wickets in his 97th Test during the third Test of England's tour of India 2024 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. Having achieved the incredible feat, Ashwin became the fastest Indian bowler to reach 500 Test wickets, breaking the previous record held by Anil Kumble.

Anil Kumble (India) - 500 Test wickets in 105 matches

Anil Kumble, India’s highest wicket-taker in Tests, scalped his 500th wicket in the format against England at Mohali in his 105th match. His relentlessness and perseverance on the pitch helped him finish his Test career with 619 wickets in 132 Tests.

Meanwhile, Kumble is only the second bowler in Test cricket history to scalp all 10 wickets in an innings. The Karnataka-born spinner achieved this remarkable feat against Pakistan at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in February 1999.

Shane Warne (Australia) - 500 Test wickets in 108 matches

Shane Warne picked up 500 wickets in only 108 Tests, making him the only and fastest Australian to do so. He surpassed Walsh’s record at Galle against Sri Lanka, taking 10 wickets in the match and helping the visitors take an early lead in the series. 

The spin wizard is also one of only two bowlers with more than 1000 international wickets. Fondly known as Warnie, the Aussie legend finished with 708 wickets in his Test career. Warne scalped 195 wickets against Ashes-rivals England, the most by any bowler against an opponent in Tests.  

Photo credit: Alamy