Contrary to popular belief, bowling is the most important aspect in the game of cricket. After all it is the bowlers who win matches for their teams rather than the batsman. While cricket fans these days love seeing a batsman thrashing the bowlers to all parts of the ground, longtime fans will agree that there is nothing like seeing a fast bowler charging in towards a batsman bowling as fast as he can. The sight of a fast bowler running in from fifty yards, making the batsman jump and duck, reminds us why the game of cricket is so beautiful. So join us today as we take a look at some of the most hostile fast bowling spells in the history of test cricket.
- Curtly Ambrose 7 for 1 vs. Australia
The first inning of the fifth test match between West Indies and Australia in 1993, saw Curtly Ambrose wreak havoc as he ran in and took seven wickets conceding just a single run in a devastating spell. The series was leveled at one each when Australia won the toss and opted to bat first. Little did they knew, that they were about to face a charged up, in form Ambrose who had already picked up 24 wickets in the series. On a fast WACA wicket Ambrose generated serious pace and bounce sending the Australian batting line up packing to the pavilion on 119. West Indies eventually went on to win the test match by an innings and 25 runs while, Curtly Ambrose was declared the player of the match.
- Mitchell Johnson 7 for 40 vs. England
Throughout the 2013 Ashes series Mitchell Johnson was on fire, picking up 36 wickets in 5 matches to claim the player of the series award. His best spell undoubtedly came during the second match at the Adelaide Oval, where he picked up 7 wickets for just 40 runs. In his first few overs with the new ball he constantly crossed the 150 km mark and proved to be very tough for the English batsmen. He picked up the wicket of Alastair Cook with an out swinging delivery and then came back after lunch on day 3 to pick up 5 wickets for just 12 runs. At one stage he was also on a hat-trick however, he couldn’t manage to get the third wicket. Johnson was declared the player of the match and he also went on to win the player of the series award.
- Stuart Broad 8 for 15 vs. Australia
Australian team was under immense pressure coming into the fourth test match during the 2015 Ashes series as England led by 2-1. Many fans were expecting the baggy greens to come back strongly however, Stuart Broad had other ideas as he bowled one of the best spells in the history of Ashes. He went on to pick up 8 wickets in ten overs giving just 15 runs as the Australian batting line up was sent back to the dressing room with just 60 runs on the board. England went on to win the test match by an innings and 78 runs and Stuart Broad won the player of the match award.
- Shoaib Akhtar at Perth
This spell is quite different from others in this list as it didn’t actually have an impact on the test match. Neither did Shoaib pick up a lot of wickets nor was he able to claim any awards. The sole reason for the inclusion of this spell is simply because it was one of the fastest spell in the history of test cricket. It was astonishing for the fans to see the amount of pace and bounce Shoaib Akhtar was able to extract from the wicket. Ricky Ponting later in his interviews attested to the fact that it was the fastest spell he had ever faced.
- Shoaib Akhtar 5 for 21 vs. Australia
With a first innings lead of 188 and 74 runs on the board in the second innings, Australia was completely dominating Pakistan in the test match. That is when Shoaib Akhtar stepped in and bowled arguably the best spell of his career to take Australia from 74 for 1 to 89 for 7. Shoaib Akhtar picked up 5 wickets which included the wicket of Ricky Pointing, Mark Waugh and Steve Waugh. On one occasion during the spell he also had the chance to claim a hat-trick however; he wasn’t able to pick up the third wicket. Unfortunately, despite Shoaib’s efforts, Pakistan wasn’t able to chase down the fourth innings score of 315. Even though, Shoaib Akhtar was unable to help Pakistan win the test match, his spell bought life to a one sided test match.
Which one of these spells is your favorite? Leave your opinion in the comments below plus also mention some of the spells missing from the lists.