Former Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan holds the record for most wickets in Test cricket. During his career that spanned from 1992 to 2010, the legendary off-break bowler scalped 800 wickets in 133 Test matches at an average of 22.72.

Muralitharan is only one of two bowlers to have breached the 700-wicket mark in cricket’s longest format, with the other being Australia’s Shane Warne, who has 708 Test wickets to his name.

Among the nine teams Muralitharan has faced in his Test career, England have been his favourite victim, with the spinner picking 112 wickets at an average of 20.06 against them. Next up for him are India with 105 wickets against them at an average of 32.62 followed by South Africa with 104 wickets against the Proteas at an average of 22.22. It is only against these three teams that the spinner has picked more than 100 wickets.

Meanwhile, as far as batters are concerned, Mark Boucher has been dismissed more times (12) by Muralitharan than any other player. Zimbabwe’s Grant Flower who was dismissed 10 times by Murali follows the South African while Waqar Younis, Mohammad Yousuf and Khaled Mashud were also dismissed by the Sri Lankan legend nine times each.

Muralitharan, who also holds the record for the most player of the series awards in Test cricket (11), registered his best bowling figures against Zimbabwe in 2002, ending with figures of 9/51 in one innings. The spinner took 13 wickets in that match.

Furthermore, while Muralitharan and Shane Warne are the only bowlers to have scalped more than 700 wickets in the longest format, James Anderson sits third on this list with 651 wickets in 171 matches. The England pacer has registered 31 five-wicket hauls during his Test career, with his best bowling figures - 7/42 - coming against West Indies in 2017. 

Former India spinner Anil Kumble, who has bagged the most Test wickets for India, sits fourth on the list with 619 wickets followed by Australia’s Glenn McGrath (563 wickets) in fifth spot.

Most wickets in Test cricket

Player Team Span Matches Innings Wickets Best figure
Muttiah Muralitharanan Sri Lanka 1992-2010 133 230 800 9/51
Shane Warne Australia 1992-2007 145 273 708 8/71
James Anderson England 2003-2022 171 318 651 7/42
Anil Kumble India 1990-2008 132 236 619 10/74
Glenn McGrath Australia 1993-2007 124 243 563 8/24

Featured photo: AFP / Lakruwan Wanniarachchi