When the first Test between the West Indies and England gets underway on January 23 at Bridgetown, England’s long-term opening bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will be on a combined total of 998 Test wickets.
No fast bowling combinations have ever cracked the 1000 barrier, and with England the second-ranked Test team in the world, and the Windies eighth, it’s reasonable to expect England’s greatest new-ballers will set a new mark that will take come catching.
Their longevity is as staggering as their success.
Anderson (36), has been on the Test circuit for 15 years to become the most successful fast bowler in history with 565 scalps, taking over from Australian Glenn McGrath’s 563.
Anderson first teamed up with Broad (32) in 2007, who is now the eighth most successful bowler of all-time with 433.
And they will be among the first picked in the Three Lions’ team for the Ashes series in England later in the year, where the baggy greens haven’t won a series since 2001.
There have been so many superb fast bowling combinations over the years, that for Anderson and Broad to be top of the tree says volumes for their success.
Arguably, it’s the West Indies that has provided the most sustained fast bowling over a period.
Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith started the barrage in the late 50s, but it was Clive Lloyd who was responsible for the hell the calypso quicks created in the 70s, and 80s.
In an interview I had with captain Lloyd in 1975 in Perth after the Windies had beaten Australia by an innings and 87 runs when the pace attack of Andy Roberts, Keith Boyce, Michael Holding, and Bernard Julien had claimed 19 wickets between them, Lloyd predicted that was the start of West Indian pure pace dominance.
He was spot on.
From 1976 the Windies were never beaten in 25 Tests, at one stage winning 11 on the trot.
They simply blasted out the opposition in the 70s with the key quicks – Roberts, Holding, Joel Garner, and Malcolm Marshall – while Courtney Walsh, Patrick Patterson, Curtly Ambrose, and Ian Bishop dominated the 80s.
There have been so many famous fast bowling combinations.
Australia has had Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller, Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, plus McGrath and Brett Lee – Pakistan Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, England Harold Larwood and Bill Voce of Bodyline fame (or infamy), plus Freddie Trueman and Brian Statham, while South Africa has had Shaun Pollock and Dale Steyn, the Kiwis still have Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
The list would be far too long to cover all combinations since the first Test in 1877, but selected combinations show the relativity.
998 – Jimmy Anderson (565) and Stuart Broad (433) with a combined 269 Test caps.
924 – Curtly Ambrose (405) and Courtney Walsh (519) – 230.
873 – Glenn McGrath (563) and Brett Lee (310) – 200.
852 – Shaun Pollock (421) and Dale Steyn (431) – 198.
822 – McGrath (563) and Jason Gillespie (259) – 195.
811 – Pollock (421) and Makaya Ntini (390) – 209.
787 – Wasim Akram (414) and Waqar Younis (373) – 191.
591 – Richard Hadlee (431) and Danny Morrison (160) – 134.
578 – Andy Roberts (202) and Malcolm Marshall (376) – 148.
559 – Freddie Trueman (307) and Brian Statham (252) – 137.
555 – Dennis Lillee (355) and Jeff Thomson (200) – 121.
470 – Tim Southee (237) and Trent Boult (233) – 122.
451 – Roberts (202) and Michael Holding (249) – 107.
398 – Ray Lindwall (228) and Keith Miller (170) – 116.
286 – Wes Hall (192) and Charlie Griffith (94) – 76.
176 – Harold Larwood (78) and Bill Voce (98) – 48.