Test bowling nominees January 11, 2012

The raw and the cooked

In no year did debutant bowlers do for experienced batting line-ups as they did in 2011
40

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Dale Steyn
5 for 75 v India
third Test, Cape Town

Steyn ushered the new year in by terrorising the acclaimed batsmen of the world's No. 1 Test team with frightening spells of accurate outswing bowling at high speed. Most did not survive the menacing attack, except for Sachin Tendulkar. Steyn's two spells to start the first two sessions of the third day were perhaps the 11 best overs anyone can bowl for just two wickets. Steyn oozed aggression every ball, routinely missed off after starting on or around leg, and ripped out five in the innings. It took masterful defending from Tendulkar to deny him.

James Anderson
5 for 65 v India
first Test, Lord's

England's whitewash of India wasn't as straightforward as the scoreline suggests. They had to burst through various roadblocks, and the final day of the Lord's Test was one when India's big four survived 93, 113, 56 and 68 deliveries, making England work hard for their wickets. Anderson made sure India wouldn't escape like they had at Lord's in 2007, which was followed by a series defeat for the hosts. He took out Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar, before dismissing India's final defiance, Suresh Raina, with one that angled in from round the stumps and then left the batsman.

Stuart Broad
6 for 46 v India
second Test, Trent Bridge

The match was slipping out of England's grasp even after Broad's rescue act with the bat, with India already past England's meagre first-innings total with six wickets in hand. They had yet to reckon with Broad, though, who had, astonishingly, been under pressure to keep his place before the start of the series. Broad brought England back sensationally, with a hat-trick and a spell that read 5.1-2-5-5, to keep India's lead to just 67. It was a day India never came back from in the series.

Nathan Lyon
5 for 34 v Sri Lanka
first Test, Galle

Australia had been bowled out for under 300, and dreaded being on the receiving end of one of Sri Lanka's typical long innings at home that crush visiting teams. Australia's only spinner was a debutant regulation offie with no mystery balls or doosras… who with his first delivery in Test cricket dismissed Kumar Sangakkara. This was no dream: Lyon went on to get four more in the innings to help bowl Sri Lanka out for 105. It set up Australia's first series win in the subcontinent since 2006.

Junaid Khan
5 for 38 v Sri Lanka
first Test, Abu Dhabi

Flat pitch. Hot sun. Remorseless Sri Lankan accumulators to deal with. Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and fielded. A good start for Sri Lanka. Misbah knew something we didn't. Enter Junaid Khan. Like only Pakistani fast bowlers can, he thrived in the conditions, bowling his guts out to take five wickets in 14.1 overs. He swung the ball, persistently hit the seam, and bowled yorkers that took the pitch out of the equation. Only dropped catches in second innings denied Pakistan a win Junaid utterly deserved.

R Ashwin
6 for 47 v West Indies
first Test, Delhi

Ashwin kept with the theme of 2011 being a year for debutants. He did so at a time when India were staring at an embarrassing home defeat against West Indies. India hadn't won any of their previous six Tests and had fallen behind by 95 on a track where the low bounce would be a huge problem when chasing. In the third innings of the match, MS Dhoni came out with a helmet on, and his offspinner responded with wickets with both the new and old ball. The big two, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo, were key wickets as India went on to bowl West Indies out for 180 and finally win a Test again.

Shane Watson
5 for 17 v South Africa
first Test, Cape Town

This spell was overshadowed later, but consider the numbers and take a deep breath. Watson took five wickets in the space of 21 balls in a five-over spell. Four of the five were specialist batsmen and the fifth the wicketkeeper. This was the fourth-quickest five-for in the history of the game. It bowled South Africa out for 96, barely making the follow-on mark. It left South Africa needing a miracle to win the Test.

Vernon Philander
5 for 15 v Australia
first Test, Cape Town

The miracle duly arrived when debutant Philander produced a cheaper five-for, although it took him two overs more than it took Watson. Philander is not as quick as Morne Morkel or as skilful as Dale Steyn, but on the day, on the seaming pitch, he bowled just the right pace and lengths to either get the edges or the lbw calls when he hit the pads. Sensationally, he was instrumental in South Africa bowling Australia out for 47, their lowest total in more than a century.

Pat Cummins
6 for 79 v South Africa
second Test, Johannesburg

Embarrassed by the defeat at Newlands, Australia needed something special to salvage their trip. On another difficult pitch for batting, they bowled South Africa out for 266 but managed only a 30-run lead. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers threatened to run away with the series with a 147-run stand. Before they could bat Australia out of the series, though, Cummins, the tall and fast debutant, struck. His burst of quick and skilful bowling meant South Africa lost their last seven wickets for 102, and Australia levelled the series in a thrilling chase.

Doug Bracewell
6 for 40 v Australia
second Test, Hobart

In just his third Test match, Bracewell delivered one of New Zealand's most famous Test wins. It helped that the conditions in Hobart supported movement and swing, and Bracewell used both, getting the ball to dart back in as well as leave the batsmen. When Australia were threatening to walk away with the match, Bracewell got into the act. He removed Ricky Ponting for 16, and Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey off consecutive deliveries to turn the tide in a matter of two overs. Just when David Warner, who made an unbeaten 123, needed the support of the tail, he dislodged James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc, and delivered the final blow, bowling last man Nathan Lyon after he had stitched together nine runs and, in the company of Warner, given his team hope of scraping through. It was New Zealand's first Test win over Australia since 1993.

Click here for the Test batting shortlist

Pick your favourite performance here

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • the_wallster on January 12, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    Some fantastic performances last year, but for me Stuart Broad's was the stand-out. under immense pressure from the Sri Lanka series, and bowled like a demon to knock the much vaunted Indian line-up. I'd follow this closely by Jimmy Anderson's, which was just astonishing bowling. 3rd Philander on debut, followed by Junaid Khan's performance and young Pat Cummins on an excellent debut.

  • Bruce_Robinson on January 12, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Give it to Bracewell. He deserves something after being robbed of the man of the match award. ;) Seriously, though, it was a very good bit of bowling. For sheer edge-of-the-seat excitement, though, I would say Steyn vs Tendulkar. Top quality cricket from two immensely talented individuals. You want people to follow Test cricket. Show them that duel. Then they will understand what it's all about.

  • The_big_j on January 12, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    Junaid Khan easily. He defied the odds and took 5 wickets without giving too many runs on a flat track....

  • timus6778 on January 12, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    my vote goes to steyn...there is no one better than him in the world...pace,swing,control,intensity,stamina...ah,..how could i forget the smile and the stare @ the batsmen...man, u r a legend in making...u deserve to be in a league having mcgrath,akram,lillee,marshall...i wish u rise to greater heights than these dignitaries...

  • on January 12, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    I have to go with steyn. That spell he bowled was insane, and possibly the best I have seen regardless of the amount of wickets he took or the pitch.

  • redneck on January 12, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    philanders 5/15 on debut, bowled his side to victory. has to be that one, australia were in charge of that capetown match before philanders efforts! special mention for bracewell, cummings and watson too though.

  • on January 11, 2012, 20:06 GMT

    my vote goes for JUNAID KHAN. he bowled on a pitch that was a flat track and against a team who are very good under such conditions...ashwins perfromance cant be be matched with junaids, bcose ashwin is a spinner and definetly there was a possibilty that a spinner will take 5 or 6 wickets on flat tracks..........all the other philander, bracwell etc bowled on wickets which were suitable for fast bowling...so junaid gets my award.

  • on January 11, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    dale steyn without a doubt...that was a gem type of spell.....that makes test cricket special..

  • kempson94 on January 11, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    @Arnab Banerjee, Did you even watch Broad's spell? Tail-enders or not, England were on course to concede a crippling 1st innings deficit before Broad, having been under huge pressure for his place, changed the match for the second time. Steyn was also great, and is by far the best bowler in the world, but he failed to prevent Harbhajan forming a match winning partnership with Tendulkar, unlike how Broad prevented the tail doing so with Dravid. Hence Broad gets my vote, followed closely by Steyn and then either Bracewell or Philander, as both won games for their teams that seemed over, and it is the team winning, rather than individual numbers, which is most important (I can hear a collective gasp from Indian fans).

  • on January 11, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    Most of these performances came in bowler friendly conditions, apart fron Junaid' 5-for which I didn't see unfortunately. But watching Steyn move the ball and make everyone look like fools on a pitch that offered 400+ runs for both teams... having SRT caught behind (not given) and clipping stumps... the outswinger to Pujara was it? unplayable... he made that pitch look different during that mid-session of play...

  • the_wallster on January 12, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    Some fantastic performances last year, but for me Stuart Broad's was the stand-out. under immense pressure from the Sri Lanka series, and bowled like a demon to knock the much vaunted Indian line-up. I'd follow this closely by Jimmy Anderson's, which was just astonishing bowling. 3rd Philander on debut, followed by Junaid Khan's performance and young Pat Cummins on an excellent debut.

  • Bruce_Robinson on January 12, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Give it to Bracewell. He deserves something after being robbed of the man of the match award. ;) Seriously, though, it was a very good bit of bowling. For sheer edge-of-the-seat excitement, though, I would say Steyn vs Tendulkar. Top quality cricket from two immensely talented individuals. You want people to follow Test cricket. Show them that duel. Then they will understand what it's all about.

  • The_big_j on January 12, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    Junaid Khan easily. He defied the odds and took 5 wickets without giving too many runs on a flat track....

  • timus6778 on January 12, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    my vote goes to steyn...there is no one better than him in the world...pace,swing,control,intensity,stamina...ah,..how could i forget the smile and the stare @ the batsmen...man, u r a legend in making...u deserve to be in a league having mcgrath,akram,lillee,marshall...i wish u rise to greater heights than these dignitaries...

  • on January 12, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    I have to go with steyn. That spell he bowled was insane, and possibly the best I have seen regardless of the amount of wickets he took or the pitch.

  • redneck on January 12, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    philanders 5/15 on debut, bowled his side to victory. has to be that one, australia were in charge of that capetown match before philanders efforts! special mention for bracewell, cummings and watson too though.

  • on January 11, 2012, 20:06 GMT

    my vote goes for JUNAID KHAN. he bowled on a pitch that was a flat track and against a team who are very good under such conditions...ashwins perfromance cant be be matched with junaids, bcose ashwin is a spinner and definetly there was a possibilty that a spinner will take 5 or 6 wickets on flat tracks..........all the other philander, bracwell etc bowled on wickets which were suitable for fast bowling...so junaid gets my award.

  • on January 11, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    dale steyn without a doubt...that was a gem type of spell.....that makes test cricket special..

  • kempson94 on January 11, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    @Arnab Banerjee, Did you even watch Broad's spell? Tail-enders or not, England were on course to concede a crippling 1st innings deficit before Broad, having been under huge pressure for his place, changed the match for the second time. Steyn was also great, and is by far the best bowler in the world, but he failed to prevent Harbhajan forming a match winning partnership with Tendulkar, unlike how Broad prevented the tail doing so with Dravid. Hence Broad gets my vote, followed closely by Steyn and then either Bracewell or Philander, as both won games for their teams that seemed over, and it is the team winning, rather than individual numbers, which is most important (I can hear a collective gasp from Indian fans).

  • on January 11, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    Most of these performances came in bowler friendly conditions, apart fron Junaid' 5-for which I didn't see unfortunately. But watching Steyn move the ball and make everyone look like fools on a pitch that offered 400+ runs for both teams... having SRT caught behind (not given) and clipping stumps... the outswinger to Pujara was it? unplayable... he made that pitch look different during that mid-session of play...

  • timus6778 on January 11, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    my vote goes to steyn...there is no one better than him in the world...pace,swing,control,intensity,stamina...ah,..how could i forget the smile and the stare @ the batsmen...man, u r a legend in making...u deserve to be in a league having mcgrath,akram,lillee,marshall...i wish u rise to greater heights than these dignitaries...

  • Erebus26 on January 11, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    Doug Bracewell gets my vote.

    Ashwin? Wouldn't have him anywhere near this list. Bowled against a poor West Indies side and has been shown up in Australia.

  • aa61761 on January 11, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    All these are very good performances, but Junaid Khan stans head & shoulders above every one else. Junaid's performance is on a flat Abu Dhabi wicket. All other wickets in this list are supporting wickets - Galle & Delhi for spinners - Cape Town, Lord's, Trent Bridge, Johannesburg & Hobart for fast bowlers. On the other hand Abu Dhabi is a batting wicket.

  • sidzy on January 11, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    young patty for me...will do the job he looked class apart in his 1st test

  • cricket_pak419 on January 11, 2012, 13:10 GMT

    Where is Saed Ajmal's 11 wicket against west Indies. Come on everybody knows that India bowlers suck and Pakistanis rock. Oh ya I forget the cricket world is ruled by India thats why they get everything they want, but dont forget Indians Pakistan is rising and Inshallah will deafeat u in Asia cup. PKAISTAN ZINDABAD!

  • Nish8738 on January 11, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    i think shane watson took 5 for 21 or something in SA last year. he bowled awesomly well for someone who is one of the best openers in the world and bowls at high 130s. hes best at what he does.

  • on January 11, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    I would go with Doug Bracewell for his magnificent bowling against Australia and Dale Steyn's performance against India

  • Venkiviru on January 11, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    NICE ONE... though der wer many...

  • bestbuddy on January 11, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    No Marchant de Lange? Third best innings figures by a debutant in HISTORY (7-81), outperforming Dale Steyn who went wicketless in an innings for the first time in 3 years on a flat pitch. Is he not included because SA lost? It was certainly as good a performance as Ashwin, who was playing a team totally clueless against spin, or Broad who predominantly took lower order wickets on a seamer friendly pitch

  • on January 11, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    It should be Doug Bracewell.

  • on January 11, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    Bracewell, easy. He tore through Ponting Clarke and hussey in a couple of overs then finished off the tail. Quite a miracle win.

  • on January 11, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Styen and Cummins, best in 2011

  • on January 11, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    I would go with Stuart Broad

  • timus6778 on January 11, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    steyn was superb...so was anderson...sadly both came against india...

  • Avidcricketlover on January 11, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    It should be Doug Bracewell. That was a mauling handed to Australia by one man. Its got to be him. Cummins's effort was of equal importance. Should be either him or Bracewell. It should be seen what was done and how was it also done.

  • on January 11, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Broad's spell is a little over rated. Harbhajan was mistakenly given out, and most of his victims were tail enders. Nothing compared to Steyn or Bracewell. Also, my top vote will go to Junaid Khan and James Anderson for doing what they did in much topugher conditions

  • on January 11, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    My vote is for Bracewell, it was a special effort from him to beat Aussies. I would also highly rate Junaid's performance because it in "UN-HELPFUL" conditions. Philander's is also not less to anyone.

  • mrgupta on January 11, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    I think given the quality of the opposition they had to bowl to and also for the fact that they are new to Test Cricket Bracewell and Philander's spell stand out. Steyn is a proven world Class performer and so is Anderson but the way these two new guys bowled against one of game's great Ponting and Hussey was exceptional. Same can be said about Junaid who was bowling on non responsive conditions and that too when he is only a new kid his performance was exceptional. Just to encourage these guys to continue their exceptional starts i would want jury to give the award to either of these debutants. I know i have not mentioned Ashwin here but given he was playing against a lower quality opposition i don't consider his performance at par with the other debutants.

  • on January 11, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    Steyn for sure,his battle with sachin will be remembered forever,i've never seen anyone made sachin so shaky in recent times.

  • johnathonjosephs on January 11, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    I like how Rangana Herath in the 2nd Test was not included in this list

  • johnathonjosephs on January 11, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Bracewell or Philander gets the award for best bowling performance for sure Would lean towards Bracewell since Aus was taking the game away from NZ and he broke in out of nowhere.

  • Agnihothra on January 11, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Broad's 6-fer should vie for the top honor.. because it was the spell that well and truly broke India's back and heart at the same time.....

  • on January 11, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Nice to see some great bowling performances all throughout the year.Doug Bracewell is my choice with philander coming as the close 2nd for their impact on the concerned test matches..but skill wise it has to be dale steyn's spell in the final test match against india..he was like god that day..He looked like getting wicket in each of that 66 ball spell..!!

  • Aubm on January 11, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    A lot of top bowling performances this year, this list is stronger than the batting one me thinks. Probably between Steyn, Broad, Cummins & Philander I would have thought, with my vote for Philander, it's hard to top 47 all out.

  • trueindian on January 11, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Which performance should I select? Every one was the best in their efforts. Junaid Khan bowled his heart out in those trying conditions in the Gulf, giving full respect to the Pakistan legacy. Watto was his usual self. Is there any other allrounder like him? Philander made a sensational start to his career and is growing in stature. Steyn is just unplayable, every batsman dread to play, a reminder to the eras gone by. Cummins is a special talent who has a bright future. Bracewell was outstanding, surprises me how NZ got him( I miss Shane Bond), Anderson is the best fast bowler in Test right now as people say. SO who is that we are looking at? Still my heart goes for Steyn. And than Junaid Khan's super performance in unhelpful conditions.

  • HatsforBats on January 11, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    Test lovers the world over should thank India & Australia for their inconsistent and fragile batting, without which we would be deprived of so much entertainment.

  • vanthli on January 11, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    S.Ajmal despite taking highest number of wickets and 3 5W Hauls is not present in that list 6/42 vs WI or 5/68 vs SL deserved to b there................!!!!!!

  • krishstarofcricinfo on January 11, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    It's a good sign for test cricket to have the new bowlers like Bracewell, Pattinson, Philander. Doug Bracewell should be given the award for the historical win against Australia in Australia. He deserves MoM for that match. But unfortunately he didn't get.My vote is for Bracewell.

  • on January 11, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Vernon Philander 5 for 15 v Australia first Test, Cape Town

  • on January 11, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    Bowler Made his Century and 5 wicket haul twice.... !!! in his first test series... R Ashwin .. Go for him !

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  • on January 11, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    Bowler Made his Century and 5 wicket haul twice.... !!! in his first test series... R Ashwin .. Go for him !

  • on January 11, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Vernon Philander 5 for 15 v Australia first Test, Cape Town

  • krishstarofcricinfo on January 11, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    It's a good sign for test cricket to have the new bowlers like Bracewell, Pattinson, Philander. Doug Bracewell should be given the award for the historical win against Australia in Australia. He deserves MoM for that match. But unfortunately he didn't get.My vote is for Bracewell.

  • vanthli on January 11, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    S.Ajmal despite taking highest number of wickets and 3 5W Hauls is not present in that list 6/42 vs WI or 5/68 vs SL deserved to b there................!!!!!!

  • HatsforBats on January 11, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    Test lovers the world over should thank India & Australia for their inconsistent and fragile batting, without which we would be deprived of so much entertainment.

  • trueindian on January 11, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Which performance should I select? Every one was the best in their efforts. Junaid Khan bowled his heart out in those trying conditions in the Gulf, giving full respect to the Pakistan legacy. Watto was his usual self. Is there any other allrounder like him? Philander made a sensational start to his career and is growing in stature. Steyn is just unplayable, every batsman dread to play, a reminder to the eras gone by. Cummins is a special talent who has a bright future. Bracewell was outstanding, surprises me how NZ got him( I miss Shane Bond), Anderson is the best fast bowler in Test right now as people say. SO who is that we are looking at? Still my heart goes for Steyn. And than Junaid Khan's super performance in unhelpful conditions.

  • Aubm on January 11, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    A lot of top bowling performances this year, this list is stronger than the batting one me thinks. Probably between Steyn, Broad, Cummins & Philander I would have thought, with my vote for Philander, it's hard to top 47 all out.

  • on January 11, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Nice to see some great bowling performances all throughout the year.Doug Bracewell is my choice with philander coming as the close 2nd for their impact on the concerned test matches..but skill wise it has to be dale steyn's spell in the final test match against india..he was like god that day..He looked like getting wicket in each of that 66 ball spell..!!

  • Agnihothra on January 11, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Broad's 6-fer should vie for the top honor.. because it was the spell that well and truly broke India's back and heart at the same time.....

  • johnathonjosephs on January 11, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Bracewell or Philander gets the award for best bowling performance for sure Would lean towards Bracewell since Aus was taking the game away from NZ and he broke in out of nowhere.