Five Players with the Most Wickets in Ashes History

The Ashes is underway and in just two days we have already seen some terrific bowling performances. While good bowlers can be unplayable on their day, great bowlers can hurt the batsmen day in, day out. Both England and Australia have produced world-class bowlers who have lit up the Ashes consistently. In this article, we will look at five bowlers with the most wickets in Ashes history.

#5 Ian Botham – 128 wickets

Botham played the first Test of his career against Australia and immediately impressed everyone with his bowling. He bowled 20 overs and took 5 wickets for 74 runs. In the next Test at Leeds, he effectively sealed the series with another five-wicket haul and conceded only 21 runs.

In 1978/79 away tour to Australia, Botham did not have much impact. But he redeemed himself in the 1981 Ashes and his spell of 5 for 11 at Birmingham is the stuff of legend. Overall in his career, Botham’s bowling average against Australia was 28, and he took a wicket every 56 balls.


#4 Dennis Lillee – 128 wickets

The moustache, the pace and the ability to bowl infinitely long spells made Lillee the most feared bowler of his era. He also took a liking for English batsmen, as evident by his bowling average of 22 and strike rate of 54 against England. Like Botham, Lillee took a five-wicket haul in his very first Test against Australia.

His legacy was established in the 1972 Ashes as he picked up five wickets in each innings of the final Test. Australia ended up winning the Test and drew the series 2-2. Lillee bowled 71 overs in his last Test against England which epitomizes his ability to run in all day and bowl fast.

#3 Hugh Trumble – 141 wickets

Trumble played 32 Tests in his career, and all of them came against England except one. Trumble struggled badly in his first Ashes series, picking just 8 wickets in five Tests. The Oval Test of 1896 was a turning point in his career as he picked up 12 wickets and conceded just 89 runs.


Trumble’s last Ashes series was memorable for two outstanding bowling performances. At 36 years of age, he picked up 5 for 34 at Melbourne, but England won the Test. In his last ever Test, he picked up 7 wickets for 28 runs. Trumble’s record of Most wickets in Ashes history stood for more than a century, a remarkable achievement,

#2 Glenn McGrath – 157 wickets

Arguably the greatest fast bowler of all time, McGrath averaged a wicket every 46 balls against England. He picked up just 6 wickets in his first Ashes series, but Australia retained the urn. In his next Ashes in 1997, he was simply on another level, picking up 36 wickets away from home at a strike rate of 41.

In his second tour to England, he picked up 32 wickets at an even better strike rate and average. He retired at home against England in 2007 after his 24 wickets ensured a whitewash.


#1 Shane Warne – 195 wickets

Warne’s record for most wickets in Ashes history will probably stand the test of time. It is primarily because he played 36 Tests against England, a number that will be hard to match in the T-20 era. Secondly, he was a game-changer in any condition, and that is a rare quality.

The 1993 Ashes was Warne’s first tour to England, and he managed to pick up 34 wickets. He remained productive against England, but the 2005 Ashes was his crowning moment as a cricketer. Warne picked up 40 wickets at a strike rate of 37.9, and it is safe to say no spinner will ever match these numbers in England.




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