Test cricket is labelled by many fans as the ‘purest form’ of the sport. The reason behind it is that only top-quality players can succeed in Test cricket. This format needs patience. It requires character. Also, players need to have skills as well as top stamina levels.
Tests last for 5 days. So, if a player is not fit, he will not succeed. Same way, Tests required proper techniques. T20 stars often stay away from Test cricket because they do not have solid techniques. Close-in fielding positions are generally used in Test cricket. Some player specializes in that skill. They take more catches than others, and here are the Top 5 bowler-fielder combinations in Test history.
5. Nathan Lyon – Steve Smith: 40 catches
Nathan Lyon is the lead spinner of Australia. Steve Smith generally fields in the slips. Smith is an excellent catcher. It is rare to see him standing at slips and dropping catches. Often, he even converts half chances for his team.
So far, Lyon and Smith have played together for eight years. In these eight years, there have been 40 dismissals involving them. Lyon bowls the deliveries. He ensures the batsmen make a mistake. Steve Smith utilizes the opportunity and takes the catch.
4. Harbhajan Singh – Rahul Dravid: 51 catches
Harbhajan Singh was one of the top spinners of India. He has not retired officially. However, the chances that he plays Test cricket again for India are very low. He had a great partnership with Rahul Dravid. Rahul was one of the top fielders of his era.
Dravid took some great catches at the close-in positions. In total, he took 51 catches off Harbhajan’s bowling. Singh played quite a few games under Dravid’s captaincy. So, Dravid and Harbhajan had great bonding. They are the second most successful Indian pair in Test cricket history.
3. Shane Warne and Mark Taylor: 51 catches
Shane Warne is the greatest Aussie leg-spinner of all time. He took 708 wickets in his career. Warne was a controversial player. But he was also very successful on the field. Mark Taylor was one of his top partners.
Taylor executed 51 catches off Warne’s bowling. They played Test cricket together from 1992 to 1998. So, in a relatively briefer duration, Taylor and Warne achieved much success. They remain the most successful Australian bowler-fielder pair in Tests. It will be interesting to see if Smith-Lyon could surpass them.
2. Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid – 55 catches
As mentioned ahead, Dravid was one of the best catchers of his time. He appears twice on this list. This fact solidifies the aforementioned claim. He took 51 catches off Harbhajan. Anil Kumble and Dravid’s pair had four more dismissals to their name.
Both Kumble and Dravid played for RCB in IPL. They even captained Team India. They had an enormous experience. The duo played together from 1996 to 2008. In this duration, they managed to send 55 batters back to the dressing room.
1. The most successful bowler-fielder pair in Test cricket history – Muttiah Muralitharan and Mahela Jayawardene: 77 catches
No other bowler-fielder pair has more dismissals than this Sri Lankan duo. Muttiah Muralitharan took 800 Test wickets. Out of them, 77 were caught by Mahela Jayawardene. Mahela is a former Sri Lanka captain. He has retired from all formats now.
Even Muralitharan has bid farewell to the game. The duo dismissed 77 batsmen from 1997 to 2010. Jayawardene took 205 catches in his Test career. 77 came off Muralitharan’s bowling. This shows the excellent partnership and reliability the two islanders had then.