The Cricinfo Awards

Test bowling: the nominees

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Steyn was instrumental in earning South Africa their second Test series win in Pakistan © Getty Images

Dale Steyn: 5 for 56 v Pakistan
Second innings, Karachi
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In a surprise move, the South Africa team management had dropped the veteran Shaun Pollock in favour of Steyn, thinking his extra pace might be a threat to the opposition. Steyn justified that decision in the second innings with a bowling performance that destroyed Pakistan. On the fourth evening he accounted for both openers, and then did more damage on the final day. Younis Khan led the fightback, but Steyn dismissed him as well, rattling his stumps with one that kept low. Steyn had lacked accuracy in the first innings but bowled with far more control in the second, generating plenty of pace and movement. Two lower-order wickets completed his third five-for in Tests, and a superb win for South Africa.

Zaheer Khan: 5 for 75 v England
Second innings, Trent Bridge
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Trailing by 283 in the first innings, England needed plenty of runs in the second to save the game, but Zaheer ensured they wouldn't get them. Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook started steadily before Zaheer broke through, pitching it full and inducing an edge from Strauss. Getting the ball to move late, he soon trapped Cook lbw with an indipper. However, it was his inspired burst with the second new ball that turned the match decisively in India's favour. Michael Vaughan's outstanding hundred threatened to thwart India, but Zaheer stopped him somewhat fortuitously - the ball clipping leg stump off Vaughan's thigh pad - and then made further inroads: Ian Bell was trapped plumb in front by another round-the-wicket scorcher which angled in and then straightened, and when Paul Collingwood was removed after a fighting 63, England had lost all chances of saving the game.

Monty Panesar: 6 for 129 v West Indies
First innings, Lord's
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Panesar's display of accurate spin bowling gave his team the upper hand in the first Test. England had put 553 on the board, but their bowling seemed inadequate after Matthew Hoggard limped out of the attack and Steve Harmison performed miserably. However, Panesar shouldered the extra workload with aplomb. He didn't get much assistance from the pitch, but he didn't need much, bowling Devon Smith with his first delivery, and then winning three lbw decisions as West Indies batsmen paid the price of playing pad first. Using flight, loop and the arm-ball, he trapped Ramnaresh Sarwan, who thrust his pad in the line of the ball. Daren Ganga and Runako Morton followed in identical fashion. On the fourth day Panesar got the key wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, spinning one in to the left-hander out of the rough, before sealing the deal with another leg-before, against tailender Corey Colleymore.

James Anderson: 5 for 42 v India
First innings, Lord's
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Anderson produced his most consistent display in England colours in a long time as he claimed career-best figures of 5 for 42 in the first Test. Both Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison were out, but Anderson ensured they were hardly missed. Swinging the ball late at decent pace, he troubled most of the batsmen: Rahul Dravid was done in by the perfect outswinger and Sachin Tendulkar trapped by a superb inswinger, but the best was reserved for Sourav Ganguly. Set up by a series of deliveries that angled across the left-hander, Ganguly had no clue against a delivery that went with the angle and jagged back in to crash into the stumps. Mahendra Singh Dhoni guided one to slip to give Anderson his 50th Test wicket before Zaheer Khan became his fifth victim of the innings.



Anderson: second-stringer no more © Getty Images

Ryan Sidebottom: 5 for 88 v West Indies
First innings, Durham
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Sidebottom made the most of his comeback series, swinging the ball prodigiously in the overcast conditions. Ganga clipped one straight to short leg, while Devon Smith was set up superbly: after several away-swingers, Sidebottom brought one in, Smith shouldered arms, and was bowled. Chanderpaul battled hard, but even he played and missed several times against Sidebottom. Marlon Samuels wasn't as lucky, and was bowled round his legs as he tried to cover for the delivery going across him. Denesh Ramdin edged to second slip, while Fidel Edwards became the fifth victim of Sidebottom's swing when he was bowled by one that darted back in.

Mohammad Asif: 5 for 76 v South Africa
Second innings, Port Elizabeth
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With Pakistan fighting to level the series, and Shoaib Akhtar unavailable, Mohammad Asif bowled 38 overs - the most he ever had in an innings - with such sustained intensity and skill that South Africa had no chance. Asif removed both openers and returned with the second new ball to cause further damage. After causing both Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis plenty of problems, he finally struck: getting Gibbs to edge to second slip. A feisty contest between Asif and Kallis finally went Asif's way when he nipped one back in to get his man lbw. Mark Boucher's dismissal gave Asif his five-for, all of which were top-order wickets, and paved the way for Pakistan to win the game and tie the series.

Paul Harris: 5 for 73 v Pakistan
First innings, Karachi
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Pakistan's openers had put up a breezy reply to South Africa's formidable 450 when Paul Harris was thrown the ball. Getting sharp turn and bounce in addition to his loop, Harris had Akmal stretching forward to an arm-ball that struck him plumb in front. It wasn't only the batsmen that Harris troubled with his bounce: he also hit Mark Boucher on the cheek with a ball that spun and beat the bat. Harris then accounted for Mohammad Hafeez, brilliantly caught at first slip by Jacques Kallis. On a deteriorating pitch, Harris was clearly South Africa's best bowler, checking the flow of runs and testing all the batsmen. Shoaib Malik broke the shackles, but Harris had the last laugh, jolting Pakistan by trapping Salman Butt on the back foot. Malik and Umar Gul were then deceived and stumped as they came charging down the track. It was Harris' first five-wicket haul in Tests, and led South Africa to a win.

RP Singh: 5 for 59 v England
First innings, Lord's
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Having conceded a first-innings lead of 97, India were sinking further with England cruising at 102 for 2 in the second, before Singh made his mark. Switching to round the wicket - a line of attack that had troubled England earlier - he moved the ball both ways, and finally forced Michael Vaughan to inside-edge a drive onto his stumps. Paul Collingwood avoided a pair but couldn't avoid a bouncer and gloved to slip. Singh managed to surprise England's batsmen with his pace and movement. Ian Bell dragged a pull on to his stumps while Kevin Pietersen too fell to him after scoring 134. Monty Panesar's batting prowess wasn't enough to keep Singh out and he finished as the fifth in Singh's maiden five-wicket haul.



McGrath who? Lee took over as Australia's pace spearhead in 2007 © Getty Images

Makhaya Ntini: 6 for 59 v Pakistan
First innings, Port Elizabeth
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On a dramatic opening day South Africa had been bundled out for 124 before Makhaya Ntini helped the hosts peg back the visitors. Before tea he removed Imran Farhat, fencing to slip, and Mohammad Hafeez, lobbing one to short leg, and then added Yasir Hameed as Pakistan stumbled to 19 for 3. Ntini troubled the experienced duo of Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf, before surprising Younis with extra bounce to finish the day on 299 Test wickets. On day two, he bagged his 300th with the wicket of Mohammad Sami, before ending the frustrating last-wicket partnership of Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Asif. South Africa still ended up losing the game, but Ntini had given them a fighting chance after a dismal first-innings batting performance.

Brett Lee: 4 for 87 v Sri Lanka
Second innings, Hobart
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Brett Lee took over the mantle of Australia's spearhead from Glenn McGrath in style, winning the Man-of-the-Match awards for both Tests against Sri Lanka. One-down, Sri Lanka were chasing 507 to square the series when they were jolted by Lee's second spell. Though not quite touching 150kph, he bowled quick, getting the ball to reverse and keeping the batsmen on their toes with a few short deliveries. Kumar Sangakkara and Marvan Atapattu had put on 143 runs for the second wicket when Lee successfully set Atapattu a trap on the hook. That was followed with a superb full inswinger that Mahela Jayawardene completely misjudged, letting it crash into his off stump. On the fifth day, when Sanath Jayasuriya combined with Sangakkara for another menacing 100-plus stand, it was once again Lee who did the job, forcing him to edge a cut, before wrapping things up by taking the final wicket of Muttiah Muralitharan.

Dale Steyn: 6 for 49 v New Zealand
second innings, Centurion
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Steyn tormented New Zealand in the two-Test series, finishing with 20 wickets. Having bounced them around at the Wanderers, he routed the hapless tourists with another ten-wicket haul at Centurion. In the second innings a magnificent spell of 6 for 49 decimated a feeble line-up and led to an innings-and-59-run victory inside three days. Steyn baffled, and even occasionally frightened, New Zealand's wary top order with pace, movement and aggression. The openers fell lbw, beaten for pace; Stephen Fleming got his bat down too late and suffered a similar fate against one that straightened; outswing did it for Brendon McCullum, who was sucked into an edge; Mark Gillespie played down the wrong line; and Iain O'Brien had no answer to an inswinger. It was a spell of genuine pace and swing, searing yorkers interspersed with nasty bouncers, and truly amazing to watch.