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The Trueman-Garner club

Bowlers who were among the wickets every time they bowled

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

September 17, 2008

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Fred Trueman took a wicket every time he turned out for England © International Cricket Council
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AB de Villiers has scored a run or more in all his 77 Test innings to date and holds the record , having surpassed Aravinda de Silva during the series in England, for the most innings without a duck. Is the bowlers' equivalent - taking a wicket in all innings or in every match - harder to achieve? It's what we've looked at this week: bowlers who were among the wickets every time they bowled.

Former England fast bowler Fred Trueman and his West Indian counterpart Joel Garner are the only players with over 40 Tests and a wicket in each of them. Trueman, the first to break the 300-wicket barrier, played 67 Tests and took 307 wickets. His worst match figures were during the Ashes Test at Old Trafford in 1961 when he took 1 for 147 in 46 overs. Garner took 259 wickets in 58 Tests and had less than two wickets in a match only thrice. The 1 for 98 against India in the 1983 Trinidad Test was his poorest haul.

Three bowlers narrowly missed out on the Trueman-Garner club. Allan Donald, Bishan Bedi and Stuart MacGill struck in all but one Test during their careers. Donald, in fact, equalled Trueman, taking wickets in all his first 67 Tests but went wicketless in his 68th - in Barbados in 2001. Donald scored 37, his personal best, in that match but bowled only 14 overs, without success, in the first innings and suffered a sore hamstring which ruled him out of the second. He finished with wickets in 71 out of 72 Tests. Bedi did not take a wicket in the third of his 67 Tests , against England at Headingley. He too was struck down by a leg injury on the first day and was restricted to 15 overs in the first innings and none in the second. MacGill, who played 44 Tests , did not take a wicket in Kandy in 2004.

Among current bowlers, Lasith Malinga and Sreesanth are the only ones with chances of getting close to Trueman or Garner. Malinga and Sreesanth have taken wickets in all of their 28 and 14 Tests respectively. A succession of injuries has curtailed Simon Jones' career to 18 Tests so far, but he has struck in all of them.

Taking a wicket in every match in a career
Player Span Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI Ave SR 5
FS Trueman (Eng) 1952-1965 67 15178 6625 307 8/31 21.57 49.4 17
J Garner (WI) 1977-1987 58 13169 5433 259 6/56 20.97 50.8 7
SL Malinga (SL) 2004-2007 28 4777 3076 91 5/68 33.80 52.4 2
WJ O'Reilly (Aus) 1932-1946 27 10024 3254 144 7/54 22.59 69.6 11
C Blythe (Eng) 1901-1910 19 4546 1863 100 8/59 18.63 45.4 9
SP Jones (Eng) 2002-2005 18 2821 1666 59 6/53 28.23 47.8 3
CTB Turner (Aus) 1887-1895 17 5179 1670 101 7/43 16.53 51.2 11
SE Bond (NZ) 2001-2007 17 3079 1769 79 6/51 22.39 38.9 4
M Hayward (SA) 1999-2004 16 2821 1609 54 5/56 29.79 52.2 1
K Higgs (Eng) 1965-1968 15 4112 1473 71 6/91 20.74 57.9 2
JSE Price (Eng) 1964-1972 15 2724 1401 40 5/73 35.02 68.1 1
WW Davis (WI) 1983-1988 15 2773 1472 45 4/19 32.71 61.6 0
CE Cuffy (WI) 1994-2002 15 3366 1455 43 4/82 33.83 78.2 0
H Ironmonger (Aus) 1928-1933 14 4695 1330 74 7/23 17.97 63.4 4
PS Heine (SA) 1955-1962 14 3890 1455 58 6/58 25.08 67.0 4
LS Pascoe (Aus) 1977-1982 14 3403 1668 64 5/59 26.06 53.1 1
S Sreesanth (India) 2006-2008 14 2873 1573 50 5/40 31.46 57.4 1
Ata-ur-Rehman (Pak) 1992-1996 13 1973 1071 31 4/50 34.54 63.6 0
JJC Lawson (WI) 2002-2005 13 2364 1512 51 7/78 29.64 46.3 2
Inshan Ali (WI) 1971-1977 12 3718 1621 34 5/59 47.67 109.3 1

Taking a wicket in every match is no mean feat but doing it in each innings is even harder. Trueman and Garner didn't manage it: Trueman was wicketless in 19 innings , though he bowled fewer than ten overs in 12 of them, while Garner went without reward a dozen times .

Shane Bond's career was limited to only 17 Tests by injuries but he took wickets in all of the 30 innings in which he bowled. His strike-rate of a wicket every 38.9 balls is the fourth best in Tests after George Lohmann, Dale Steyn, and JJ Ferris, who is second in the table below.

Taking a wicket in every innings (when bowled) in a career
Player Span Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI Ave SR 5
SE Bond (NZ) 2001-2007 17 30 3079 1769 79 6/51 22.39 38.9 4
JJ Ferris (Aus/Eng) 1887-1892 9 16 2302 775 61 7/37 12.70 37.7 6
BN Schultz (SA) 1992-1997 9 14 1733 749 37 5/48 20.24 46.8 2
AH Gray (WI) 1986-1987 5 10 888 377 22 4/39 17.13 40.3 0
WS Lees (Eng) 1906-1906 5 9 1256 467 26 6/78 17.96 48.3 2
AS Kennedy (Eng) 1922-1923 5 9 1683 599 31 5/76 19.32 54.2 2
VB John (SL) 1983-1984 6 9 1281 614 28 5/60 21.92 45.7 2
CJ Drum (NZ) 2001-2002 5 9 806 482 16 3/36 30.12 50.3 0
JN Shepherd (WI) 1969-1971 5 8 1445 479 19 5/104 25.21 76.0 1
Ehteshamuddin (Pak) 1979-1982 5 7 940 375 16 5/47 23.43 58.7 1
RJ Kirtley (Eng) 2003-2003 4 7 1079 561 19 6/34 29.52 56.7 1
SMJ Woods (Aus/Eng) 1888-1896 6 6 412 250 10 3/28 25.00 41.2 0
SJ Staples (Eng) 1928-1928 3 6 1149 435 15 3/50 29.00 76.6 0
FS Ahangama (SL) 1985-1985 3 6 801 348 18 5/52 19.33 44.5 1
AS Wassan (India) 1990-1990 4 6 712 504 10 4/108 50.40 71.2 0
Kabir Khan (Pak) 1994-1995 4 6 655 370 9 3/26 41.11 72.7 0
KP Walmsley (NZ) 1995-2000 3 6 774 391 9 3/70 43.44 86.0 0
CT Tremlett (Eng) 2007-2007 3 6 859 386 13 3/12 29.69 66.0 0
BAW Mendis (SL) 2008-2008 3 6 979 478 26 6/117 18.38 37.6 2
DD Blackie (Aus) 1928-1929 3 5 1260 444 14 6/94 31.71 90.0 1

It's virtually impossible to do a List on bowling without Muttiah Muralitharan emerging on top of a table. He hasn't taken a wicket in every innings, or in all of his matches, but Murali has an astonishingly high percentage of matches in which he has taken wickets, considering he's been on the circuit since 1992. He's taken wickets in 119 out of 123 Tests (96.74%) and in 205 out of 214 innings. In fact, he has been wicketless in only two matches in which he's bowled: the Dunedin and Nagpur Tests in 1997. The other two Tests were against India and Pakistan, in Kandy in 1993 and 2000 respectively, and the matches did not progress past the first innings (Sri Lanka were batting) on both occasions due to poor weather.

Highest proportion of career innings when taking a wicket (qualification: 50 innings)
Player Span Mat Inns Runs Wkts BBI Ave 5 inn w/ wkt %
M Muralitharan (ICC/SL) 1992-2008 123 214 16604 756 9/51 21.96 65 205 95.79
CV Grimmett (Aus) 1925-1936 37 67 5231 216 7/40 24.21 21 63 94.02
SF Barnes (Eng) 1901-1914 27 50 3106 189 9/103 16.43 24 46 92.00
AA Donald (SA) 1992-2002 72 129 7344 330 8/71 22.25 20 117 90.69
CEH Croft (WI) 1977-1982 27 52 2913 125 8/29 23.30 3 47 90.38
A Kumble (India) 1990-2008 130 232 18069 616 10/74 29.33 35 208 89.65
J Garner (WI) 1977-1987 58 111 5433 259 6/56 20.97 7 99 89.18
MD Marshall (WI) 1978-1991 81 151 7876 376 7/22 20.94 22 134 88.74
D Gough (Eng) 1994-2003 58 95 6503 229 6/42 28.39 9 84 88.42
B Lee (Aus) 1999-2008 68 134 8550 289 5/30 29.58 9 118 88.05
BS Bedi (India) 1966-1979 67 118 7637 266 7/98 28.71 14 103 87.28
SCG MacGill (Aus) 1998-2008 44 85 6038 208 8/108 29.02 12 74 87.05
MW Tate (Eng) 1924-1935 39 68 4055 155 6/42 26.16 7 59 86.76
DK Lillee (Aus) 1971-1984 70 132 8493 355 7/83 23.92 23 114 86.36
DG Cork (Eng) 1995-2002 37 62 3906 131 7/43 29.81 5 53 85.48
DR Doshi (India) 1979-1983 33 55 3502 114 6/102 30.71 6 47 85.45
FS Trueman (Eng) 1952-1965 67 127 6625 307 8/31 21.57 17 108 85.03

Murali's also in first and second place in the table of bowlers with wickets in most consecutive innings. He took wickets in 49 innings between December 4 1999 and June 13, 2002, and in another 52 from July 21, 2002 to April 3, 2006. The two interruptions in the string of 101 innings were in the Old Trafford Test in 2002, in which Murali bowled only two overs in the second innings, and the Kandy Test against Pakistan, in which he bowled only 13 in the second innings.

Murali also has the longest streak of matches in each of which he has taken wickets. While Trueman took wickets in all his matches and Donald did so in his first 67 Tests, Murali has taken a wicket in each of his 69 matches since the Galle Test against South Africa in 2000, and will attempt to extend the run when he travels to England in 2009. Incidentally, Shane Warne also began a wicket-taking streak on March 11, 2000, which spanned 64 matches , until he retired after the Sydney Test against England in 2007.

Most consecutive matches for taking a wicket - Tests
Player Mat Start Match Opposition Scorecard End Match Opposition Scorecard
M Muralitharan 69 Jul 20, 2000 v South Africa Test 1504 Aug 8, 2008 v India Test 1886
FS Trueman 67 Jun 5, 1952 v India Test 351 Jun 17, 1965 v New Zealand Test 592
AA Donald 67 Apr 18, 1992 v West Indies Test 1188 Mar 17, 2001 v West Indies Test 1538
BS Bedi 64 Jun 22, 1967 v England Test 619 Aug 30, 1979 v England Test 854
SK Warne 64 Mar 11, 2000 v New Zealand Test 1488 Jan 2, 2007 v England Test 1826
J Garner 58 Feb 18, 1977 v Pakistan Test 797 Mar 12, 1987 v New Zealand Test 1072
GD McGrath 57 Feb 3, 1995 v England Test 1287 Dec 15, 2000 v West Indies Test 1523
A Kumble 54 Feb 24, 2000 v South Africa Test 1484 Jan 2, 2007 v South Africa Test 1827
CEL Ambrose 51 Apr 7, 1989 v India Test 1118 Feb 1, 1997 v Australia Test 1353
B Lee 44 Nov 29, 2002 v England Test 1629 Jun 12, 2008 v West Indies Test 1879
Wasim Akram 43 Jan 2, 1992 v Sri Lanka Test 1182 Nov 27, 1998 v Zimbabwe Test 1430
A Flintoff 42 Jul 31, 2003 v South Africa Test 1653 Dec 1, 2006 v Australia Test 1819
IT Botham 40 Aug 30, 1979 v India Test 854 Jul 14, 1983 v New Zealand Test 957
JN Gillespie 40 Nov 8, 2001 v New Zealand Test 1565 Mar 26, 2005 v New Zealand Test 1744
SM Pollock 39 Apr 6, 2001 v West Indies Test 1542 Mar 4, 2005 v Zimbabwe Test 1737

Click here for the full tables.

If there's a particular List that you would like to see, email us with your comments and suggestions.

George Binoy is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
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