The best new-ball pairs October 10, 2011

Shining with the new ball

Fast-bowling pairs down the years who were irresistible when they opened the attack
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For most cricket connoisseurs, there's no sight in the game as compelling as that of a first-rate fast bowler running in with new ball in hand, ready to inflict untold damage on the opposition line-up. And if there is a top-notch new-ball exponent from each end, then the anticipation doubles, especially if conditions are friendly for fast bowling. Over the years, there have been several new-ball pairs who have shaken opening batsmen, though the stocks have dwindled the world over in the last few years. This article looks at the best ones, and at the destruction they have caused.

There have been a few pairs who have shone brightly for a few games before fading quickly, but one of the first prerequisites for a top-class pair is that they should have played a fair number of matches together (apart from, quite obviously, having taken plenty of wickets in those matches). Even without looking at the stats, the following pairs are shoo-ins in any discussion on new-ball bowling: Lindwall-Miller, Lillee-Thomson, Donald-Pollock, Wasim-Waqar, McGrath-Gillespie, and a few others.

No discussion on quick bowling is complete, though, without a prominent mention of the West Indians. While most names listed above operated in an attack that consisted of three fast bowlers plus a spinner, the West Indians, in the 1980s, worked as a four-man hunting pack (more on them in the first Stats from the Past piece). It was almost as if it didn't matter who took the new ball and who came on first- and second-change - for the batsmen it was one relentless barrage of quick, skilful bowling. It changed a bit in the 1990s, though, when Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh became the clear leaders of the attack.

So let's look at how these new-ball pairs compared with each other. The table below looks at their numbers - individually and together - in the innings in which they shared the new ball. With a 100-wicket cut-off for each bowler, the pair with the best combined bowling average is the Garner-Marshall combination: both averaged marginally over 20 runs per wicket, and their combined average in the innings in which they took the new ball was an outstanding 20.16.

In fact, Garner didn't take the new ball that often in his Test career - only 49 times out of 111 innings did he bowl at the start of an innings, over a three-year period from 1984 to 1987. Out of those 49 innings, 43 times his new-ball partner was Marshall, and together they wreaked havoc. Some of their most memorable performances include their combined 12-wicket haul against England at The Oval in 1984, when each bowler took six, and against Australia in Kingston earlier that year, when they returned combined figures of 13 for 158.

New-ball pairs with at least 100 wickets each*
Bowler 1 Wkts/ Ave Bowler 2 Wkts/ Ave Tests Tot. wkts Average Strike rate
Joel Garner 108/ 20.31 Malcolm Marshall 122/ 20.03 23 230 20.16 44.77
Allan Donald 185/ 21.08 Shaun Pollock 161/ 21.68 44 346 21.36 50.86
Courtney Walsh 226/ 22.66 Curtly Ambrose 186/ 21.42 52 412 22.10 55.44
Wasim Akram 238/ 21.88 Waqar Younis 238/ 22.90 56 476 22.39 46.05
Glenn McGrath 192/ 21.21 Jason Gillespie 170/ 25.06 47 362 23.02 53.26
Glenn McGrath 121/ 19.59 Brett Lee 107/ 28.83 29 228 23.93 50.26
Ray Lindwall 126/ 24.17 Keith Miller 104/ 24.81 33 230 24.46 62.63
Andy Roberts 110/ 24.47 Michael Holding 106/ 26.09 28 216 25.27 55.60
Brian Statham 141/ 25.72 Fred Trueman 142/ 25.78 35 283 25.75 60.78
Makhaya Ntini 102/ 31.39 Dale Steyn 160/ 22.89 31 262 26.20 45.13
Matthew Hoggard 121/ 26.90 Steve Harmison 127/ 27.70 33 248 27.31 50.36
Shaun Pollock 120/ 27.33 Makhaya Ntini 146/ 28.86 34 266 28.17 59.24

* Only in innings in which both bowlers opened the bowling

The next four pairs in the list above are all those who bowled in the 1990s and the early 2000s, and their presence explains why opening the batting during that period was such an unenviable task. Donald and Pollock were outstanding, and England got a taste of their powers early in their partnership, when each took seven wickets and led South Africa to a thumping win in Cape Town in 1996. Donald took five in the first and two in the second, while for Pollock the sequence was reversed. England's batsmen didn't stand a chance against that onslaught. Donald and Pollock were at it again at Headingley in 1998, taking eight wickets each, but South Africa still managed to lose that one by 23 runs. Their best, though, was against the same opponents in Johannesburg the following year, when they took 19 out of 20 England wickets in a resounding win.

Walsh and Ambrose loved bowling against England too: in that famous 46-all-out Test in Trinidad in 1994, they took 16 of the 19 wickets taken by West Indian bowlers; at Lord's more than six years later, they were equally devastating, taking 15 wickets, though England managed to squeeze a win. Other teams felt the heat too - against South Africa in Port Elizabeth, the duo had another 15-wicket Test, though West Indies lost that one too. In all of Test history, Ambrose and Walsh are one of only two new-ball pairs with more than 400 wickets between them in the innings in which they opened the bowling.

The other pair to achieve the feat is the dreaded Ws: Akram and Waqar took 476 wickets in the innings in which they opened the attack, terrorising batsmen for a decade and more with their pace and swing. One of their most impressive combined efforts was against Australia in Karachi in 1994. The match is famous for Pakistan's one-wicket escape to victory, but Akram and Waqar were both in smashing form, taking 15 wickets in the match. Against a top-notch West Indies side in 1990, they had another memorable game, taking 15 wickets again and winning the battle against a rival bowling attack that included Ambrose, Bishop, Marshall and Walsh.

In the second half of the 1990s, there emerged another pair, this time from Australia, to inflict further misery on batsmen. Glenn McGrath was already a mean bowler, and when he joined hands with Jason Gillespie, the combination - along with the presence of Shane Warne - made match-winning contributions in several Australian wins. England's batsmen are unlikely to forget Lord's 2001, when both took five-fors and had a combined match haul of 15 wickets. Barbados 1999 was another 15-wicket game for them, though the Test is only remembered for Brian Lara's heroics.

Each of these four pairs of new-ball bowlers took more than 340 wickets, and the difference in their averages was less than two runs, which is a fair indication of just how great they all were. The rest of the pairs in the table above all took less than 300 wickets, though there are some fine averages there too. Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller, for instance, each averaged less than 25 in their new-ball partnership, which lasted 33 Tests, while Andy Roberts and Michael Holding averaged just over 25. Brian Statham and Fred Trueman are the first England pair in the table, averaging less than 26 in the 35 Tests in which they opened the attack.

Apart from these 12 pairs, there are some others who deserve to be listed too. In each case, at least one of the two bowlers didn't touch 100 wickets in the innings in which they opened the bowling, but even so, some of them achieved terrific numbers. Ambrose's defining new-ball partnership was with Walsh, but the Ambrose-Ian Bishop pairing was arguably even more terrifying in the brief period when Bishop was fully fit and at his fastest. For example, check out this Test against England at the usually placid Antigua Oval in 1990: Bishop and Ambrose combined to take 14 for 221, and England were routed by an innings. Or this Test in Perth in 1993, when the combined figures for the pair were 17 for 136 and the result was another innings win for West Indies. And in this game in Lahore, Ambrose and Bishop took 13 of 16 wickets, even when the rest of the cast included Walsh and Marshall. Fortunately for opposition batsmen, Bishop's fitness gave way relatively early in his career.

Dennis Lillee's partnership with Jeff Thomson is one of the most talked about new-ball pairs in Test cricket, but numbers show that Terry Alderman achieved better results when he opened the bowling with Lillee. In 13 Tests, they took only one wicket fewer than the Lillee-Thomson combination in 16, though that is largely because Lillee's average fell in his combination with Thomson - he averaged more than 27 with him, and less than 22 with Alderman.

Lillee and Alderman opened the attack for less than two years in the early 1980s (before that unfortunate injury in the Perth Test against England in 1982), but in those 13 Tests they formed a superb team. In that famous Headingley Test in 1981, the pair took 16 out of 20 England wickets; in the last Test of the same series, they accounted for 15. Lillee and Thomson had a couple of fine series against England in the mid-1970s, but they were new-ball partners in only 16 Tests, mostly before Lillee's exodus to play for Kerry Packer.

There are several other top-notch pairs in the table below: Imran Khan formed excellent partnerships with Akram and Sarfraz Nawaz, while Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad were a fine act for India in the second half of the 1990s, with a better combined bowling average than, among others, Bob Willis and Ian Botham.

Other new-ball pairs who deserve a mention
Bowler 1 Wkts/ Ave Bowler 2 Wkts/ Ave Tests Tot. wkts Average Strike rate
Curtly Ambrose 103/ 17.36 Ian Bishop 93/ 20.73 23 196 18.96 47.42
Dennis Lillee 74/ 21.97 Terry Alderman 57/ 25.53 13 131 23.52 51.17
Imran Khan 106/ 22.26 Wasim Akram 82/ 26.45 25 188 24.09 55.35
Dennis Lillee 62/ 27.13 Jeff Thomson 70/ 25.10 16 132 26.05 53.07
Graham McKenzie 86/ 26.45 Neil Hawke 65/ 27.75 18 181 27.01 66.55
Sarfraz Nawaz 98/ 30.15 Imran Khan 129/ 24.84 28 227 27.14 62.80
Andrew Caddick 90/ 28.74 Darren Gough 104/ 26.06 26 194 27.30 50.25
Javagal Srinath 86/ 27.09 Venkatesh Prasad 60/ 28.52 18 146 27.68 57.48
Richard Hadlee 84/ 23.96 Ewen Chatfield 55/ 34.60 18 139 28.17 62.24
Bob Willis 87/ 26.20 Ian Botham 100/ 31.35 26 187 28.95 59.39
Karsan Ghavri 75/ 36.04 Kapil Dev 108/ 26.25 27 183 30.26 59.90
Kapil Dev 86/ 32.79 Manoj Prabhakar 92/ 36.51 32 178 34.71 79.97

All 12 bowling pairs in the first table have superb records, but how much better were they than the average bowler during their time span? The table below compares their combined average (in the innings in which they shared the new ball) with the bowling average during the period in which they bowled. Marshall and Garner, for example, shared the new ball between 1984 and 1987, during which period the overall bowling average in Test cricket was 32.63, which means the duo was 1.62 times better than the average during their era. The Donald-Pollock duo are next, with the three other great bowling pairs of the 1990s all close behind.

Lower down the table, the era bowling averages have made a difference to the ratios. During the period in which Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini shared the new ball, the overall bowling average ballooned to more than 35, an indication of the drought in great bowlers. Due to this, their ratio is an impressive 1.34, which is better than those for Roberts-Holding, Statham-Trueman and Lindwall-Miller, even though all three pairs had slightly better averages. Similarly, the ratio for Statham-Trueman is the lowest among the 12 pairs in the table below, because the overall average during that era was a relatively low 29.60.

New-ball pair averages with respect to the averages during those periods
Pair Wickets Average Period ave Ratio
Garner-Marshall 230 20.16 32.63 1.62
Donald-Pollock 346 21.36 31.51 1.48
Akram-Waqar 476 22.39 32.01 1.43
McGrath-Gillespie 362 23.02 32.88 1.43
Ambrose-Walsh 412 22.10 31.27 1.41
McGrath-Lee 228 23.93 33.76 1.41
Ntini-Steyn 262 26.20 35.11 1.34
Hoggard-Harmison 248 27.31 34.81 1.27
Lindwall-Miller 230 24.46 30.56 1.25
Roberts-Holding 216 25.27 30.91 1.22
Pollock-Ntini 266 28.17 34.32 1.22
Statham-Trueman 283 25.75 29.60 1.15

As the lists above show, the 1990s were a particularly difficult period for opening batsmen, what with so many top-class fast bowlers operating. The decade bowling average for the 1990s was 27.84, which is the best since the 1950s. Since 2000, though, that figure has moved up to more than 31.

Decade-wise averages for new-ball bowlers
Decade Tests Wickets Average Strike rate 5WI/ 10WM
1940s 45 552 31.04 76.4 26/ 3
1950s 164 2103 26.16 69.5 101/ 13
1960s 186 2387 30.29 70.6 105/ 13
1970s 198 2719 28.86 64.1 125/ 20
1980s 266 3761 28.92 60.9 201/ 30
1990s 347 5128 27.84 58.9 258/ 32
Since 2000 528 7184 31.53 59.7 273/ 34

And what about the poor openers who had to face up to these bowlers most often? Here's a look at the ones who faced up to at least one of these bowlers in at least 40 innings.

At the top of the pile of openers is Alec Stewart, the highly underrated England batsman. He faced these bowlers for a decade, between 1990 and 1999, and did exceptionally well, averaging 46.88 in 54 innings, which is well above his career average of 39.54. His best Test batting performance came in one of those Tests, against West Indies in Barbados in 1994, where he scored 118 and 143 against an attack that included Ambrose and Walsh.

Michael Atherton played 128 out of 212 Test innings against an attack that included at least one of these greats, and he didn't fare as well, averaging only 34.12 in those innings (against a career average of 37.69). He did manage to get out to them plenty of times, though.

What's also noticeable about this list is the range of averages: none above 50, only one above 45, and mostly in the 30s and early 40s. It's quite likely most of these openers wish they'd been born a decade later, when the quality of new-ball bowling isn't a patch on that in the 1990s and earlier.

Openers who played 40 or more innings versus the best of the 1990s*
Batsman Innings Runs Average 100s/ 50s
Alec Stewart 54 2438 46.88 5/ 12
Michael Slater 51 2074 44.12 4/ 10
Matthew Hayden 41 1715 43.97 8/ 5
Graham Gooch 43 1760 42.92 3/ 9
Marcus Trescothick 60 2295 40.26 4/ 11
Mark Taylor 73 2619 38.51 6/ 15
Michael Atherton 128 4231 34.12 8/ 24
Gary Kirsten 59 1879 33.55 4/ 9
Sherwin Campbell 41 1033 26.48 2/ 7
* Matches featuring at least one of the following in the opposition line-up: Donald, Pollock, Ambrose, Walsh, Akram, Waqar, McGrath, Gillespie

The list of opening combinations that faced these bowlers most often reveal the same struggle: among pairs who batted against these bowlers in more than 20 innings, only one has an opening partnership average of 40. Luckily for the opening batsmen over the last decade, their job is considerably easier.

Opening pairs versus the best new-ball bowlers of the 1990s*
Pair Innings Runs Average stand 100/ 50 stands
Atherton-Trescothick 24 1005 41.87 3/ 5
Slater-Taylor 28 1062 39.33 3/ 4
Atherton-Stewart 42 1563 37.21 5/ 6
Gibbs-Kirsten 30 1084 36.13 1/ 7
Atherton-Butcher 30 1075 35.83 4/ 0
* Matches featuring at least one of the following in the opposition line-up: Donald, Pollock, Ambrose, Walsh, Akram, Waqar, McGrath, Gillespie

Some stats contributed by Travis Basevi.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chetan007 on October 12, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    I'm very much surprised to see Tendulkar and Ganguly names were not there in the list. I think they most probably have faced these bowlers in most of the games.

  • LivingDead on October 11, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    @anees : Yeah right! miandad used to prabhakar's bunny.

  • on October 11, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Take out Manoj Prabhakar's name from the list. He was by no standards a genuine bowler, let alone fast.

  • BellCurve on October 11, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    What everyone seems to accept without question is that the opening bowlers of the 1990s were exceptional and the batsmen therefore unlucky. Is it not possible that the batsmen were mediocre and the bowlers therefore lucky?

  • on October 11, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    truly the pair of W is greatest than all by taking into consideration the flatless of pitches of sub-continent & drop catches in slip corridors...........

  • Cool_Jeeves on October 11, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    Ambrose the greatest. No need for pairing.

  • jr1972 on October 11, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    Waseem and Waqar were brilliant. Full of skill, variety and out and out hostility. They could bowl on any surface in any conditions. Also, and I could be wrong, the only right arm/left arm combination looking at those lists. Great to watch and I guess not that flash to face.

  • Chirs-Cry on October 10, 2011, 22:42 GMT

    @hhillbumper Indeed, he is in the making of a world-class bowler.

  • on October 10, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    waqar and waseem was just wow

  • on October 10, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    How about adding the opening comments of Sachin-Ganguly? (for batting of-course)

  • Chetan007 on October 12, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    I'm very much surprised to see Tendulkar and Ganguly names were not there in the list. I think they most probably have faced these bowlers in most of the games.

  • LivingDead on October 11, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    @anees : Yeah right! miandad used to prabhakar's bunny.

  • on October 11, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    Take out Manoj Prabhakar's name from the list. He was by no standards a genuine bowler, let alone fast.

  • BellCurve on October 11, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    What everyone seems to accept without question is that the opening bowlers of the 1990s were exceptional and the batsmen therefore unlucky. Is it not possible that the batsmen were mediocre and the bowlers therefore lucky?

  • on October 11, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    truly the pair of W is greatest than all by taking into consideration the flatless of pitches of sub-continent & drop catches in slip corridors...........

  • Cool_Jeeves on October 11, 2011, 3:02 GMT

    Ambrose the greatest. No need for pairing.

  • jr1972 on October 11, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    Waseem and Waqar were brilliant. Full of skill, variety and out and out hostility. They could bowl on any surface in any conditions. Also, and I could be wrong, the only right arm/left arm combination looking at those lists. Great to watch and I guess not that flash to face.

  • Chirs-Cry on October 10, 2011, 22:42 GMT

    @hhillbumper Indeed, he is in the making of a world-class bowler.

  • on October 10, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    waqar and waseem was just wow

  • on October 10, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    How about adding the opening comments of Sachin-Ganguly? (for batting of-course)

  • hhillbumper on October 10, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    did someone comment on here that Gul is a great bowler????

  • AdnanSiddiqui on October 10, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    I think Waseem and Waqar would have 100 more wickets due to flat / dead batting pitches in subcontinent (compare to Aussie, English, WI and South-African pitches) & at least 100 more due to drop catches in slip and gully area (we use to count number of wickets and number of drop catches during 90's and most of the time drop catches were more then the wicket taken) ...

    No doubt about the greatness of Garner/Marshall & Lillie/Thompson but Waseem and Waqar also being deprived of bowling to un-protected batsmen (In W/W era - thigh-guard, Chest-Guard and Arm protectors became common) ...

  • demon_bowler on October 10, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    I was under the impression that Waqar and Wasim were more devastating with the older ball, as they were among the first to perfect the art of reverse swing; thus it was their later spells that took most of their wickets. Or did they also do the damage with the new ball, and my memory is playing tricks?

    These stats show what a tough job opening the batting was in the fifties, eighties, and nineties, and reveal what a good job some players with modest averages by today's inflated standards -- e.g. Stewart, Atherton -- did in the days when opening the batting required good technique and bags of courage.

  • Murtaza. on October 10, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    without any doubt many pairs in this list got many wickets, but Wasim / Waqar were fearsome fast bowling pair in history of the game. No doubt MarshalGarner were very good but both of them played many of their matches on bowling friendly tracks, unlike Wasim and Waqar. there are no Indien or Sri lankens best pairs just because of dead wickets, but these two were truely GREATS. Wasim was most complete bowler then rest of them all in the list.

  • drdatla on October 10, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    at the lower end we have abidali solkar combination

  • on October 10, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    @all okay i agree with you guys

  • Chirs-Cry on October 10, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    Great article, indeed. I really love to read your articles S. Rajesh. Completely unbiased and includes nothing but facts. Great and keep up the amazing work. Cheers

  • harshthakor on October 10, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    On the fast wickets the best pair was Lillee-Thomson.Thomson had raw pace,at his fastest the quickest of all while Lillee posessed lethal swing and control and posessed a huge repertoire of deliveries.Ona green top Waqar and Wasim were the greatest.A perfect left hander-right hander combination with Wasim posessing a phenomenal range of deliveries with lethal swing and pace and Waqar combining his phenomenal pace with great accuracy and lethal swing.Few pace bolwers moved the ball more than Waqar and Wasim .Holding and Roberts were almost at the top with again a combination of great pace with versatality,the latter quality posessed very much by Andy Roberts.Just behind Holding -Roberts was Marshal and Garner.a perfect combination of pace and accuracy.My other great partners were Hall-Griifith,Trueman -Statham,Walsh -Ambrose and Lindwall-Miller.

  • on October 10, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    very bad article (biased)

  • on October 10, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    The world was denied the next best pair by spot fixing. Amir and Asif were proving lethal for any batting opponents untill they committed the suicidal move. Great Article indeed.

  • Leggie on October 10, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    @Bhaskar_Venu; Dude, this is list of Test cricket openers. Tendulkar does not open the innings in Test cricket!

  • MadKingGeorge on October 10, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    Baskar Venugopal "no tendulkar in batting list!!!!!" Crikey, nearly got an article through Cricinfo without a mention of Tendulkar. Try reading the article, you might have realized Tendulkar doesn't qualify for the list. Sadly, he can't win everything. I do, however, look forward to complaints about why he hasn't won Strictly Come Dancing, the Booker Prize, or the Epsom Derby. Probably Ian Chappell's fault.

  • on October 10, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    wasim/waqar the best combination in history due to dead wickets, poor slip catching and the most amount of test wickets in combination. These days fast bowlers need to get smart by picking and chose when to play so they are always at peak form.

  • Rakim on October 10, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    Wasim/Waqar and Marshall/Garner are monsters. The way they dominated the game. No one could. All time Greats.

  • aa61761 on October 10, 2011, 13:24 GMT

    Wasim / Waqar are the west fast bowling pair of all times. The numbers given in the tables do not consider two very important factors: 1. pitches 2. Slip Fielders

    Wasim / Waqar were stuck with dead wickets of sub continent for most of their games (more than 50% of their games were in sub continent).

    The biggest factor is the catching support in slips and behind the stumps (besides Rashid Latif). Pakistan and India have the worst slip fielders in the world. Other fast bowling pairs did not suffer due to poor slips fielding.

  • Calypso57 on October 10, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    Seems a real shame that one the best pairs of the West Indies - Hall and Griffith - are not even mentoned in this article. I haven't checked their stats, but surely they have to be better than some of the pairs mentioned here. Stats aren't everything!

  • on October 10, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    no tendulkar in batting list!!!!!

  • darklion81 on October 10, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Should've included the newball stats for Chaminda Vaas/Lasith Malinga as well. From 2004-7 they opened the bowling in 20 tests, taking 68 wickets each at 25.02 and 31.25 respectively, for a combined total of 134 wickets at an average of 28.14 and strike rate of 52.0. This is comparable with everyone on the chart of "other new-ball pairs who deserve a mention" (in particular, compare to the stats of Lillee/Thomson!)

    It is a pity that during this period both of them suffered injuries that prevented them bowling together more often.

  • Stark62 on October 10, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    By looking at that list. It is safe to say that Marshall/Garner and Wasim/Waqar are the best pairs!

    I definitely know that pitches in SA are seam friendly whilst, pitches in Aus are bouncy wickets.

    I'm not sure about the wickets they had in the days of Marshall/Garner in the Windies but Wasim/Waqar definitely played most of their career in Pak or Sharjah (dead wickets).

    If Windies had bowling friendly wickets in those days then, Wasim/Waqar are ahead of the pack simply because they got wickets on dead tracks with the new ball (something you don't see these days).

  • jonesy2 on October 10, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    mcgrath-lee, lillee-thomson were by far the best.

  • Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on October 10, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding - stats werent maintained to this level of detail then. just one example, number of balls faced wasnt maintained until the 70s.

  • tigerkhan on October 10, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    Great Article Rajesh, Wonderful work again. Well, all the great new bowl pairs looks like history now. There is Steyn but he hasn't got a partner, same is with zaheer and gul. But still there is a big big difference in the greatness of todays bowlers and the greats of the past. There was a pair of Amir/Asif, which looked like Donald/Pollock, Wasim/Waqar, Amborse/Walsh and Mcgrath/Gillespie but they have ruined there careers, which is so sad. Hope India can produce another good pacer and a partner for Zaheer to just touch the wonders done by the great pairs of the past.

  • ian_ghose on October 10, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    So true Rajesh. I remember the first cricket match I ever watched was Aus Vs SA in the 1992 WC and to see Allan Donald run in deliver those thunderbolts captured my imagination like nothing else, and I fell in love with fast bowling. When I played cricket as a kid I would don Donald's war paint and try and imitate his bowling action, his mile long run up and his jumpy style of delivery. If there's anything that interested me in cricket, it was watching a fast bowler unleash hell upon the batsmen. Sadly, as time passed by the pitches got slower and flatter, especially in the last decade. Sure there's been an odd spell of brilliance from Steyn, but in other parts of the world the quicker men have had to resort to slower balls and cutters (something which i feel insults the very art of fast bowling). Until India's tour of England i.e. It was an absolute pleasure watching quality pacemen battering a supposedly brilliant batting line-up into total submission. May the fast bowler rise again

  • on October 10, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    i think wasim and waquar are the greatest of them all

  • BoonBoom on October 10, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    I agree with Naveed, The llist must be sorted out either on strike rate or wickets per test because these two factors reveal how potent these pairs are. With respect to strike rate, Garner/Marshall are number 1 whereas Wasim/Waqar are number 2. Even a better method would be to get a Rating factor = Wicket per test / Strike Rate. In this way tope three are Garner/Marshall, Nitni/Styne and Wasim/Waqar. This is a very good example because Wasim/Waqar have better wickets/test than Styne/Nitni but Style/Nitni have better strike rate than Wasim/Waqar, hence placed higher than Wasim/Waqar.

  • D.Nagarajan on October 10, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    This article doesnt cover the following - Number of Tests won and lost (at home and abroad) when the wickets were taken by the "pairs" , that will give the true picture. Garner-Marshall were miles ahead as they did well in different conditions home and away.Otherwise its delightful. I wonder what will India 's bowling pair be in the future -- Praveen and Dhoni Lol.

  • on October 10, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    No doubts about the threat and skills of these fast bowling deamons..... I think that sorting the tables on strike rate and / or number of wkts or wkts per match index, would have serverd better. As higher averages do indicate the edgy runs taken of the bowlers..... And only then we can see the true place of legends like Wasim/ Waqar, Donald/ Pollock, McGrath / Gellispe..... But a great list neverthe less....

  • ejsiddiqui on October 10, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Love the bowlers of 90s. Now, pitches are too batting friendly. The batsmen these days are not very skillful but still they have batter averages than greats of the past.

    I hope for more supportive pitches (and bowler friendly rules)

  • maddinson on October 10, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    @HatsforBats starc look nothing extraordinary. Between the answer for your question is "Faulkner".

  • HatsforBats on October 10, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    @Cummins_Hazlewood: is your middle name Starc?

  • YorkshirePudding on October 10, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Why do your stats only ever show post WWII players, tests were played for 80 years before WWII.

  • BoonBoom on October 10, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    Some how adding K Ghavri and M Prabhakar in the list was a good joke in the otherwise very good article.

  • HatsforBats on October 10, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Hopefully the great fast bowlers will return again when the pitches become sporting once more; though it makes me appreciate Steyn even more, he is a special bowler.

  • maddinson on October 10, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    and future pair will be the my name

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  • maddinson on October 10, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    and future pair will be the my name

  • HatsforBats on October 10, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Hopefully the great fast bowlers will return again when the pitches become sporting once more; though it makes me appreciate Steyn even more, he is a special bowler.

  • BoonBoom on October 10, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    Some how adding K Ghavri and M Prabhakar in the list was a good joke in the otherwise very good article.

  • YorkshirePudding on October 10, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Why do your stats only ever show post WWII players, tests were played for 80 years before WWII.

  • HatsforBats on October 10, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    @Cummins_Hazlewood: is your middle name Starc?

  • maddinson on October 10, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    @HatsforBats starc look nothing extraordinary. Between the answer for your question is "Faulkner".

  • ejsiddiqui on October 10, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Love the bowlers of 90s. Now, pitches are too batting friendly. The batsmen these days are not very skillful but still they have batter averages than greats of the past.

    I hope for more supportive pitches (and bowler friendly rules)

  • on October 10, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    No doubts about the threat and skills of these fast bowling deamons..... I think that sorting the tables on strike rate and / or number of wkts or wkts per match index, would have serverd better. As higher averages do indicate the edgy runs taken of the bowlers..... And only then we can see the true place of legends like Wasim/ Waqar, Donald/ Pollock, McGrath / Gellispe..... But a great list neverthe less....

  • D.Nagarajan on October 10, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    This article doesnt cover the following - Number of Tests won and lost (at home and abroad) when the wickets were taken by the "pairs" , that will give the true picture. Garner-Marshall were miles ahead as they did well in different conditions home and away.Otherwise its delightful. I wonder what will India 's bowling pair be in the future -- Praveen and Dhoni Lol.

  • BoonBoom on October 10, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    I agree with Naveed, The llist must be sorted out either on strike rate or wickets per test because these two factors reveal how potent these pairs are. With respect to strike rate, Garner/Marshall are number 1 whereas Wasim/Waqar are number 2. Even a better method would be to get a Rating factor = Wicket per test / Strike Rate. In this way tope three are Garner/Marshall, Nitni/Styne and Wasim/Waqar. This is a very good example because Wasim/Waqar have better wickets/test than Styne/Nitni but Style/Nitni have better strike rate than Wasim/Waqar, hence placed higher than Wasim/Waqar.