McGrath's brilliant career

November 1993 - Makes his Test debut aged 23, against New Zealand at Perth. In the first of his 124 Tests, he takes 2 for 92 and 1 for 50.

December 1993 - He and Michael Slater make their one-day international debuts together, against South Africa at the MCG. In a low-scoring encounter, McGrath bowls economically, conceding 28 from 8.4 overs. Demonstrates his worth throughout the tri-series; his 16 wickets are second only to Shane Warne.

November 1994 - In a Lahore Test dominated by batsmen and spinners, proves for the first time he can take wickets in any conditions, claiming 4 for 92 in the second innings. His Pakistan tour also includes a Man-of-the-Match 5 for 52 to earn Australia victory in an ODI tri-series final.

May 1995 - Leads the attack with 17 wickets in Australia's winning four-Test tour of West Indies.

February 1997 - Earns a Man-of-the-Series title in Australia's 3-2 win over Courtney Walsh's touring West Indies team. His 26 wickets came at an average of 17.42.

June 1997 - In his first Test on English soil, routs the hosts for 77 in the first innings by taking 8 for 38 from his 20.3 overs. Is jointly named Man of the Series after claiming 36 wickets in the six tests, including 7 for 76 at The Oval.

April 1999 - Returns to the West Indies with an even better performance than last time. Australia draw the series and he finishes with 30 dismissals in the four Tests, including four five-wicket hauls and his first ten-wicket match.

June 20, 1999 - Takes 2 for 13 from nine overs in Australia's World Cup win over Pakistan at Lord's.

November 2000 - Finishes with match figures of 10 for 27 at Brisbane as he destroys West Indies for 82 in the first innings and 124 in the second.

August 2001 - Earns another Man-of-the-Series award in an Ashes series away from home. Australia win 4-1 thanks largely to his 32 wickets at 16.93. During the series, he passes Dennis Lillee's record of 355 dismissals to become the highest wicket-taker among Australia fast bowlers.

February 27, 2003 - Takes his best ODI figures - 7 for 15 - as Australia embarrass World Cup minnows Namibia with a 256-run win at Potchefstroom.

March 23, 2003 - Helps Australia win the World Cup by claiming 3 for 52 - including the cheap wicket of Sachin Tendulkar - in the final against India at Johannesburg.

August 2003 - Has surgery on his ankle, which keeps him out of action for the 2003-04 season.

October 2004 - Becomes the first Australia fast bowler to play 100 Tests.

November 2004 - Achieves what many thought he never would: scores a Test match half-century. His 61 comes as part of a 114-run last-wicket stand with Jason Gillespie, who also scores his maiden fifty, and demoralises New Zealand at Brisbane.

December 2004 - Takes 8 for 24 against Pakistan at Perth - his best Test figures - and helps Australia to a

July 21, 2005 - Becomes the second fast bowler to reach 500 Test wickets when he has Marcus Trescothick caught at slip at Lord's.

August 4, 2005 - Rolls his ankle on a stray cricket ball at training and is forced to miss the second Ashes Test - the famous Edgbaston match that England win by two runs.

February 2006 - Announces he will not tour South Africa and will instead stay home to care for his wife Jane, who is undergoing treatment for her third bout of cancer. His lay-off from the game lasts until September, when he returns to the one-day side.

November 2006 - Returns from his ten-month Test lay-off in style, taking 6 for 50 in the first innings of the opening Ashes Test at Brisbane.

December 23, 2006 - Announces his retirement, to take effect after the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.