Players with Most Wickets in Test Cricket: Test Cricket Records 2024

| Posted on May 14, 2024

Test cricket tests the resilience, tenacity, and willpower of the players, especially bowlers. Without such bowlers, test cricket would not have garnered the attention of fans as it did. This is why leading test wicket takers are revered everywhere in the world. 

Being a test cricket bowler is demanding work, at times it feels like a tremendous task against set batters or on flat pitches. 

But to become the highest wicket taker in test cricket, bowlers have to run in and display their optimum form to take those wickets. 

This article will have a run-down of 10 leading wicket takers in test cricket. 

Dale Steyn – 439 Wickets in 93 Matches

Dale Steyn in Test Cricket

Dale Steyn has the best strike rate of any bowler who has more than 300 wickets in test cricket. 

The South African legend announced himself on the world stage against England in 2004. He is probably the best fast bowler of the last decade. 

In a career spanning 15 years, 2004 to 2019, Dale Steyn has taken 439 wickets in just 93 test matches. In his prime in the 2010s, Dale Steyn was susceptible to injuries and that restricted him from playing in every series. Despite all that, he bowled his heart out every time he took the field. 

He bowled with everything he had and never held back. He was a ferocious out-and-out fast bowler of his generation. The intimidating glare of Dale Steyn is still famous to this day. 

He held the number-one ranked test bowler spot for six consecutive years. 

Ravichandran Ashwin – 516 Wickets in 100 Matches

Ravichandran Ashwin in Test Cricket

Ravichandran Ashwin claimed his 500th scalp against England in a series at the start of 2024. Looking at the first 100 matches, only Muthiah Muralitharan had more wickets than Ashwin.

He made his debut for India in 2011 against West Indies and went on to become the top wicket taker in test cricket for India. 

Ashwin is a magician who weaves his magic through flight and a lot of variations. His variations bamboozled many batters over the years, especially the carrom ball. 

Ashwin also has the best strike rate of any spin bowler with more than 300 wickets. He has taken 516 wickets in 100 test matches for India. He is still active and may end up as the highest wicket taker in test cricket for India one day. 

Not only that, but he also features in a list of the most dangerous bowlers in IPL history

Courtney Walsh – 519 Wickets in 132 Matches

Courtney Walsh in Test Cricket

The West Indian legend, Courtney Walsh was the first bowler to reach the 500-wicket milestone in test cricket, he broke the record of Kapil Dev in 2000. He held the top spot until overtaken by Australia’s Shane Warne in 2004. 

He was one of the best fast bowlers of all time. Walsh debuted in 1984 against Australia and played his last test match in 2001. At the end of his career, he ended up with 519 wickets in 132 matches. 

Along with Curtly Ambrose, he was one of the most ferocious and hostile bowlers for the West Indies. 

Nathon Lyon – 530 Wickets in 129 Matches

Nathon Lyon in Test Cricket

Nathon Lyon is one of the Three Australian greats who’ve taken more than 500 test wickets in their entire Career. 

Making his debut against Sri Lanka in 2011, the same year as R Ashwin, the Australian Spinner ended up taking 530 wickets in 129 test matches. 

He is the greatest off-spinner to ever play for Australia and has the highest average of the top 22 wicket takers in test history. He has played and delivered for Australia in different conditions but his lack of variations makes him susceptible to batters taking advantage of him. 

Glenn McGrath – 563 Wickets in 124 Matches

Glenn McGrath in Test Cricket

Glenn McGrath, the Australian speedster is considered one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. In a career spanning 14 years (1993-2007), Glenn has taken 563 wickets in 124 test matches. 

Glenn has the second-best economy rate of bowlers on this list. At the time of his retirement, he was the highest wicket taker in tests among the quicks, but since then, the England speed twins, James Anderson, and Stuart Broad have surpassed him. 

He was known for his immaculate accuracy, and he used to maintain pressure on batters for long periods and challenged them around off stump. He was one of the few bowlers to take a hat-trick in test cricket. 

Stuart Broad – 604 Wickets in 167 Matches

Stuart Broad in Test Cricket

Stuart Broad became only the second fast bowler ever to take more than 600 test wickets in a recent Ashes series in 2023. The other fast bowler on the list is his partner, James Anderson. 

Ever since his test debut in 2007, he has had a career of ups and downs. His highs are spectacular with some extraordinary spells to win matches for his country. Sometimes, due to poor form, even his place in the team was questioned. 

However, he adapted to all the roles of his team and gave them a bowler who stepped up when needed. 

In his career spanning from 2007 to 2023, Stuart Broad has taken 604 wickets in 167 matches. 

In T20 cricket, Stuart Broad was on the receiving end of a 6-ball 6-six record, when Yuvraj Singh went berserk and smashed Broad for 6 sixes in an over of a T20 World Cup match. 

Anil Kumble – 619 Wickets in 132 Matches

Anil Kumble in Test Cricket

The highest wicket taker in test cricket for India, Anil Kumble, is fourth on the list of the leading wicket takers in test cricket. 

Anil Kumble made his debut in 1990 for India against England but was somewhat overshadowed by Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan in the 1990s and 2000s. He was undoubtedly one of the best spin bowlers in test history. 

He was not a big spinner of the ball but a tireless bowler and was someone who could manufacture wickets at will. Kumble relied on subtle variations and altering his pace to fox batters on the crease. 

Anil Kumble is often remembered for his 10-wicket haul against Pakistan when he took 10/74 in a 1999 Delhi match. He was the second bowler after Jim Laker to take all 10 wickets in a test inning. 

Just like R Ashwin, Anil Kumble also features in the list of most dangerous bowlers in IPL history

James Anderson – 700 Wickets in 187 Matches

James Anderson in Test Cricket

James Anderson keeps defying his age and just keeps going. He is probably the best pacer England has ever produced. 

James Anderson has the most wickets in international cricket when it comes to fast bowlers. He is also the second player on the list of players with most test matches, which is a testament to his fitness levels. 

Anderson is like wine; he just keeps getting better with age. Even in his 40s, the numbers for Anderson are moving in the right direction. Over the last decade, he has lost a bit of pace but has improved his skills. 

He is a bowler who can swing both ways to keep the batters guessing. He has taken 700 test wickets, only third ever in test history, in 187 matches. 

Shane Warne – 708 Wickets in 145 Matches

Shane Warne in Test Cricket

Shane Warne, the highest wicket taker in test cricket for Australia, was a master wrist spinner who was at the heart of a dominant Australian team in the late 90s and early 2000s. 

The leg breaks and mysterious variations from Warne asked questions that no other bowler ever could. A fierce competitor and fascinating personality, Warne was a bowler to be feared when ball in hand. 

The late Australian legend was the first bowler to take 700 wickets in test cricket and was later surpassed by master magician, Muttiah Muralitharan. Having made his debut in 1992 against India, Warne finished his test career with 708 wickets in 145 matches. 

Muttiah Muralitharan – 800 Wickets in 133 Matches

Muttiah Muralitharan in Test Cricket

Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan legend is likely to remain the highest wicket taker in test cricket as no current active players are near to his tally of 800 wickets. 

Muralitharan with his controversial and unorthodox bowling action played tests for 18 years and ended up with 800 test scalps in just 133 test matches. He has overcome several rounds of testing and investigation to have a career as illustrious as his. 

In 2007, Muralitharan passed Shane Warne as the highest wicket taker in test cricket. Then he went on to add 92 more wickets to his name, ending his career with 800 wickets. 

Muralitharan, with the highest test wickets, is in a league of his own with 67 five-wicket hauls and 22 10-wicket matches. He is also the only player with two 9-wicket hauls. 

Comparison Table of the Top 10 Highest Wicket Takers in Test Cricket History

Muthiah Muralitharan, the former Sri Lankan right-arm spinner has the most wickets in international cricket history with 800 scalps to his name. He has achieved this feat in just 133 matches. 

It is a testament to how tough it is to be featured in such a prestigious list. 

DW SteynSouth Africa9317143922.95
R AshwinIndia10018951623.75
CA WalshWest Indies13224251924.44
NM LyonAustralia12924253030.28
GD McGrathAustralia12424356321.64
SCJ BroadEngland16730960427.68
A Kumble India13223661929.65
JM AndersonEngland18734870026.52
SK WarneAustralia14527370825.41
M MuralitharanSri Lanka13323080022.72


With Muttiah Muralitharan leading the charge of top wicket takers in test cricket, these are the top 10 bowlers who have proven themselves and are featured in this illustrious list. 

Only three players from this list, R Ashwin, Nathon Lyon, and James Anderson are still actively playing cricket for their respective nations. And all of them are at the fag end of their careers. And most of the nations are seeing a decline in the number of tests played per year. So it is likely that the record for highest wicket taker in test cricket will remain with Muralitharan. 

You may also want to take a look at our list of the top 10 fielders in the world or the 10 best openers in the world


Ans: Former Sri Lankan legend, Muttiah Muralitharan with 800 scalps has the most wickets in test cricket.

Ans: The former West Indian, Courtney Walsh was the first player to achieve the milestone of 500 test wickets. Since then, eight more bowlers have reached this milestone.

Ans: With 700 test scalps, James Anderson leads the list of fast bowlers to have the most wickets in test cricket.

Ans: Muttiah Muralitharan from Sri Lanka is the fastest bowler to reach 500 test wickets. He achieved this feat in just 87 test matches.

Ans: Two Indian spinners, Anil Kumble and Ravichandran Ashwin are the only bowlers to have reached the 500 wickets milestone in test cricket, with 619 and 516 wickets to their name respectively.

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