South Africa travelled to Australia to complete what will be a three-match Test series following the conclusion of the ongoing third match. Duuring the second match (which Australia ultimately won by an innings and 182 runs), Anrich Nortje fired down what may well have been the fastest over of his career with every ball passing 150km/h (93mph) on the speed gun. Australian batter David Warner was the predominant recipient of this firecrackers and after the day’s play, he told Fox Cricket it was “the fastest spell that I’ve faced to date in my career. It’s not that I didn’t know what to do, but it was how was I going to pull it, how was I going to duck it and how was I going to eradicate it – you couldn’t. The speed was sheer up there. It was the fastest I’ve ever faced.”
At the end of last year, England’s Mark Wood became the new record-holder for bowling the fastest spell in any short-form World Cup when he hit 96mph in England’s five wicket win over Afghanistan during their first Super12 T20 World Cup fixture. The previous holder of this record was West Indian quick Fidel Edwards during the 2009 World Cup, but the Durham paceman’s average of 92.6 surpassed this 13-year record.
However, there are even fewer who hit the illusive milestone of 100mph. In fact, so impossible does this feat seem that only two bowlers have recorded hitting the mark.
Here are the world’s fastest deliveries in cricket…
10. Shane Bond - 97.1mph
The former New Zealand right-arm bowler peaked during the 2003 ICC World Cup when he sent the ball flying down the wicket at 97.1mph, but after being plagued by injuries, he picked up just 87 Test wickets and 147 in ODIs. The former Black Cap now works with the Mumbai Indians.
9. Mohammad Sami - 97.1mph
The former Pakistani quick is his country’s second-fastest bowler and secured a five-for on debut against New Zealand. Sami is also the only player to have a hat-trick in all three formats of the game. His famous 97.1mph ball came against Zimbabwe in an ODI in 2003.
8. Mitchell Johnson - 97.4mph
Johnson is one of his country’s all-time greats in cricket with 313 Test wickets to his name . His fastest ball came during an Ashes Test in December 2013. Johnson won the ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Player of year in 2014 before retiring in 2015.
7. Fidel Edwards - 97.9mph
The former holder of the fastest spell in short-form World Cup history, Fidel Edwards’ famous ball came against South Africa in 2003. Despite being a huge young promise, Edwards was constantly plagued with injury problems forcing his Test career short, however at 39-years-old he still features in franchise T20 competitions.
6. Andy Roberts - 99.1mph
Back in the 1970s, Roberts was one of the fastest international bowlers and played for Hampshire and Leicestershire during his heyday. His fastest delivery came against Australia in 1975. His time at Hampshire has jokingly been called the county’s most expensive time as the cost of replacing stumps and bails soared due to the West Indian breaking them so frequently with his pace bowling.
5. Mitchell Starc - 99.7mph
Famous for his fast, in-swinging yorkers, Starc is one of the fastest bowlers in the world with an average speed of around 91mph. His fastest ball to date came during the third day of the second Test match against New Zealand in 2015.
4. Jeff Thomson - 99.8mph
Thomson’s career spanned from 1972-1985 and he formed one of the most feared bowling pairs along with Dennis Lillee. His fastest delivery came against West Indies in Perth in 1975 and he was inducted in the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2016.
3. Brett Lee - 99.9mph
Lee was the first cricketer to take a hat-trick in T20 international cricket and is one of the sport’s greatest all-format bowlers, taking 310 Test wickets and 280 ODI wickets. His fastest delivery came against New Zealand in 2005. On a side note, if you’ve not seen the glorious video of the Aussie quick bowling a full pace over at Piers Morgan, it’s well worth a watch.
2. Shaun Tait - 100.1mph
The second person to bowl over 100mph. His fastest delivery came against England at Lords in 2010 and while he was an outstanding player, frequently excelling in franchise cricket for teams in the BBL and IPL, he was forced to retire at the age of just 25 due to injury.
1. Shoaib Akhtar - 100.2mph
The fastest ever bowler, Akhtar was nicknamed the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ and was the first bowler to break the 100mph barrier. He hit 100mph on three occasion but his fastest delivery came against England in the 2003 ICC World Cup. During his career, which spanned from 1997-2011, Akhtar took 178 Test wickets and 247 ODI wickets.