Five Most Fearsome Fast Bowlers In The History Of Australian Cricket

Despite a late resurgence of pace from the West Indies in the late 1900s, they would still fail to match the consistent slew of fast bowling terrors that Australia has bred ever since the inception of the game. Fast bowling isn’t about only brutal pace that would leave your opposition scrambling for shelter. With the advancement of the game and the protective gear, the batters are evolving too.

Only pace would have probably given you a chunk of your opposition’s jaw in the early 80s but now it would be either be flying away into the arms of the keeper or be hooked to the ropes if the batter ahead of you knows exactly what he’s doing. With every passing day in the game, the contest of the willow and leather is getting more exciting as it welcomes countless variations to the sport.

However, at times watching Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood combining together to forge the menacing trio of terror would make you wonder how good would they have been only if they were bowling alongside the likes of the Hitman, the Whispering Death and the Big Bird.


Like the Caribbean had its own brand of fast-bowling enforcers, similarly, Australia brags about a rich legacy of those towering terrorizers who would still come in the dreams of the batters as their worst nightmares.

In this story, let us quickly take a look at the five most terrorizing Australian fast bowlers till date who made life in the fast lane a revolving nightmare for the ones who faced them.

#1 Dennis Lillee

When we talk about Australian fast-bowling a few names are absolutely inseparable from their fabric and Dennis Lillee will always be acing the race. Despite being plagued by severe back injuries, Lillee’s devil-may-care attitude got him back to his feet and he would simply dart in with a menacing glare that would be synonymous with a dragon’s stare famished for blood. He would surpass the likes of Richie Benaud to become Australia’s leading wicket-taker back then and then he would better the likes of Lance Gibbs and to add salt to Gibbs’ wound, he would rack up this feat in West Indies itself.


Lillee shared a menacing partnership with two fellow Australians, one of which was his fast-bowling partner, Jeff Thompson and the other being the iconic wicket-keeper, Rodney Marsh. By the time the towering masculine figure of Dennis Lillee was done with a rampage in his wake, he had already gathered 355 Test wickets that would star 23 five-wicket hauls with his best being 7 for 23.

#2 Glenn McGrath

As we mentioned earlier that fast bowling is not just the art of wreaking havoc, it is also the refined craftsmanship of blending a deadly line and length with the moderate figures of 138 odd to 142 kays. McGrath showed the world how havoc can be wreaked even with moderate speeds. He redefined variation for bowlers and the kind of clinical precision that he would gun in with would be an exemplifying lesson for the ages to come.

The Australian fast bowler racked up 563 Test wickets at the end of his glittering career in red-ball cricket which would feature 29 five-wicket hauls and 2 eight-wicket hauls. His career-best bowling figures in the longest format of the game were 8 for 4 against Pakistan that came in Perth. Pidge was also a reckoning force in white-ball cricket where he is Australia’s highest wicket-taker in ODIs. He claimed 381 wickets from his glamorous cricketing career in the shorter version of the game, the best of which would be coming against Namibia, where he claimed 7 for 15 in the 2003 World Cup. He played a crucial part in Australia’s hat-trick of World Cup wins where he was the second-highest wicket-taker in 1999 with 18 wickets, the third-highest wicket-taker in 2003 with 21 wickets and in 2007 he aced the charts finally with a staggering 26 scalps. He is also the highest wicket-taker in World Cup history with 71 wickets.


#3 Brett Lee

After Dennis Lillee stepped down from the mantle. Australia was desperately looking for a bowler who would storm in with an inhuman pace and would make the batters scared. That iconic hopscotch leap followed by a boatload of searing venom darting down the surface faster than those fireballs would leave any cricketer scared for life while facing Brett Lee. He personified the Australian spirit of menace during his peak.

In a 13-year-long career, he would go on to claim 310 Test scalps that would include ten fivers with 5 for 30 being his career-best. In ODIs, he would be another damning force that would consign a whopping 380 batters right back to the stands. In the shorter format of the game, Lee would go on to claim nine fivers, also helping Australia to lift the 2003 World Cup where he was the highest wicket-taker with 22 wickets, which also starred a hat-trick against Kenya.

#4 Jeff Thompson

If you are mentioning Dennis Lillee, then it is needless to say that Jeff Thompson comes equally in hand with the destructive Australian. He had a questionable start to his Test career when he would leak too many runs against Pakistan without any success whatsoever. However, what did grab everyone’s attention was a rumour that stated that he bowled in the game with a broken bone.


It took him two long years to return to the international fold and this time he was not taking a backseat. In the 1974-75 Ashes, Thompson emerged as a heroic figure where he would conjure solid spells for Australia including a beastly showdown of 6 for 46. He would become Lillee’s partner in crime as he would exploit 200 scalps in the longest format of the game while he was also a part of two ICC World Cups where he claimed a combined seven scalps.

#5 Ray Lindwall

If the aforementioned names were shining monikers of the late, then Ray Lindwall spearheaded the charge in the 50s. Forging a crucial partnership with Keith Miller, the duo would terrorize batting ranks with extreme prejudice where he would be conjuring unprecedented pace that would leave the batters cantering for shades in the midst of a searing sun.

He wasn’t just a fine bowler but he was also a decent batter in the tail-end of the innings where he would chip in with crucial knocks that would help the teams to surge ahead by miles, also claiming important wickets in the process.



A sports lover with a passion for words.

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