Test wickets: who has the most test wickets of all time - are Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad on the list?

James Anderson adds two more wickets to his continuing record against New Zealand

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England and New Zealand have just completed their first day of play in the opening Test match in Mount Maunganui. A rampant England knocked up 325 runs in just under 60 overs, with Harry Brook highscoring on 89 off 81 balls and Ben Duckett not far behind on 84 off just 68.

Ben Stokes’ side then took the very brave decision of declaring on 325 and had a quick bowl at their oppositions before close of play. 325 is hardly a score on which a team would usually declare, but Bazball is not just any team, and any concern fans might have had about the lack of wiggle-room England had given themselves was quickly wiped away when Ollie Robinson had opening batter Tom Latham caught at short leg.

This was then beautifully (if you are an England fan) by two wickets from James Anderson. The veteran paceman trapped former Black Caps captain lbw before having Henry Nicholls caught at second slip and Tim Southee’s side ended the day on 37-3.

Anderson now has 677 Test wickets to his name and doesn’t show any signs of stopping any time soon. However, he is not the highest-wicket taker of all time.

Here is all you need to know about where the 40-year-old Lancashire bowler sits on the list...

Who is the all-time leading wicket taker?

Sri Lankan spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan is the all-time leading Test wicket taker and has 800 wickets to his name. Muralitharan began his Test career in 1992 against Australia but his career was constantly criticised due to controversy over his bowling action.

Muralitharan in 2007 against BangladeshMuralitharan in 2007 against Bangladesh
Muralitharan in 2007 against Bangladesh

He had an unusual hyperextension of his congenitally bent arm during delivery, causing umpires and other members of the cricket community to question the legitimacy of the action. However, the Sri Lankan right-arm off break bowler was cleared by the ICC, first in 1996 and again in 1999 following a biochemical analysis under simulated playing conditions.

Muralitharan retired from the sport in 2010 with best figures of 9/51 and 67 fifers to his name. In 2002, Muralitharan (often spelt Muralidaran) was rated the greatest Test match bowler by Wisen’s Cricketers’ Almanack and he is still widely regarded as the most successful and greatest bowlers of all time, averaging six wickets per Test match.

Where does Shane Warne sit on the list?

The late Australian great Shane Warne is second on the list of all-time leading wicket takers with 708 Test wickets to his name. He also had his Test debut in 1992, this time against India, and his “ball of the century” came against Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes series. The ball turned from well-outside leg stump to clip the off bail and this has been widely thought as one of the greatest wickets ever taken.

He took 37 fifers with best bowling figures of 8/71 and retired from the international game in 2007 and the domestic game in 2013. Warne revolutionised cricket with his mastery of leg spin and, along with Muralidaran, helped overturn the domination of fast bowling.

In March 2022, Warne sadly passed away at the age of 52, following a heart attack. 55,000 people attended his state memorial service at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with more than 1.5 million Australians watching at home.

Where are Jimmy and Broady on the all-time wicket-taker list?

James Anderson is the all-time leading wicket-taker for fast bowlers. He has 677 Test wickets and sits third on the list of the greats. Following his two wickets this morning, the 40-year-old now has a Test wicket for the 21st successive year.

The most prolific fast bowler in Test cricket historyThe most prolific fast bowler in Test cricket history
The most prolific fast bowler in Test cricket history

His first Test match, which came against Zimbabwe in 2003, Jimmy took 5/73 and he now has 32 fifers, a bowling average of 26.13 and a career best bowling figures of 7/42. In July 2016, Jimmy became the first fast bowler to take 50 wickets against all other seven major Test-play nations (Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies) and he has now the most Test caps for England of all time (178). He also holds the current stat for being England’s leading ODI wicket taker with 269 wickets in 194 matches.

Stuart Broad is currently fourth, behind India’s Anil Kumble, and has taken 566 Test wickets with his best figures coming against Australia at Trent Bridge in 2015 when he took eight wickets for just 15 runs. The two fast bowlers are the most successful seamers in the history of cricket and are on the verge of creating more history during this Test match.

Here are the top all-time leading wicket takers:

  1. Muralidaran - 800
  2. Shane Warne - 708
  3. James Anderson - 677
  4. Anil Kumble - 619
  5. Stuart Broad - 566
  6. Glenn McGrath (Australia) - 566
  7. Courtney Walsh (West Indies) - 519
  8. Nathan Lyon (Australia) - 461
  9. Ravindran Ashwin (India) - 457
  10. Dale Steyn (South Africa) - 439

The next Englishman on the list is Ian Botham at number 19 with 383 Test wickets to his name.