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The Roar


'I hope Lyon passes me on all-time wickets list': McGrath heaps praise on Garry's milestone

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1st January, 2024

Legendary paceman Glenn McGrath is hoping Nathan Lyon surpasses him as Australia’s second-most prolific Test wicket-taker, declaring records exist to be broken.

McGrath believes the veteran off-spinner has it in his power to usurp Shane Warne at the top of the tree by the end of his Test career.

Lyon became only the third Australian in history to take 500 Test wickets when he trapped Pakistani all-rounder Faheem Ashraf lbw late in last month’s first Test at Optus Stadium in Perth.

The 36-year-old, already Australia’s greatest ever offspinner by the numbers, joined countrymen McGrath (563) and Warne (708) as one of only eight bowlers ever to reach the milestone.

Lyon has previously indicated his desire to feature in a winning Ashes series in England, which would mean playing into 2027.

But if he continues at his current rate – Lyon took 47 Test wickets last calendar year – he will best McGrath’s figures of 563 wickets from 124 matches well before then.

Before the third and final match of Australia’s Test series against Pakistan at the SCG, McGrath willed Lyon to pass him on the leaderboard before he called time on his career.


“To me, records are there for people to break,” he said as the McGrath Foundation prepared for its 16th annual Pink Test fundraising initiative.

Glenn McGrath hands a pink cap to Steve Smith.

Glenn McGrath hands a pink cap to Steve Smith. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

“If ‘Lyono’ goes past (me), credit to him. He’s had an incredible career.

“I wish him all the best, I hope he goes past me. That’s what it’s about. 

“I’ll still be the most wickets by a fast bowler, so at least I’ve got something up my sleeve.”

Passing Warne is another challenge entirely.

To date, the late legspinner and Sri Lankan tweaker Muttiah Muralitharan are the only men to have reached 700 Test wickets.

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 11: Shane Warne of Australia leaves the field as bad light stops play during day four of the Fifth npower Ashes Test between England and Australia played at The Brit Oval on September 11, 2005 in London, United Kingdom (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Shane Warne. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Muralitharan, controversial for his unusual bowling action, took 113 matches to reach the milestone after Warne was the first to pass it in his 144th and second-last Test in 2006.

Currently, Lyon has played 124 matches in the baggy green.

“Whether he gets to ‘Shano’, that might be a different kettle of fish,” McGrath said.

“It’s up to him. He’s obviously bowling well, he knows the game so well. It’s totally up to him (whether he can pass Warne).”