Bowlers must be extremely durable and successful over a long period of time to become one of the all-time leading Ashes wicket-takers. Climbing this list entails avoiding injuries while delivering under the unrivalled pressure of an Ashes battle.
These bowlers were crucial in retaining and/or reclaiming the urn. All have delivered match-winning performances, but reaching triple figures for Ashes wickets also requires consistently contributing, even when others are taking the spotlight. Cricbaba.com presents the ten bowlers who have taken the most Ashes wickets.
1. Shane Warne – 195 wickets
Shane Warne took 38 more wickets in six more Ashes Tests than his long-time teammate. Warne thrived on the ferocity of Ashes cricket, frequently perplexing English batting lineups. From the Ball of the Century to ripping past Andrew Strauss’s cut shot in 2005, he produced many highlight dismissals.
Warne’s best Ashes performance came in 2005 when he took 40 wickets at an average of less than 20. Whereas many English fans detested his teammates, Warne was adored by cricket fans all over the world. Warne is the greatest spin bowler in cricket history. He is a fierce competitor, a master of kidology, and an incredibly skilled bowler. Many of his memorable moments occurred during Ashes’ action.
2. Glenn McGrath – 157 wickets
With over 87 wickets, Glenn McGrath has the lowest Ashes strike rate of any bowler. McGrath’s bowling was perfectly suited to English conditions due to his consistent control of line and length. In England, he averaged less than 20 with the ball, taking advantage of seam movement and constantly challenging the outside edge of English batters.
In-home conditions, he wasn’t exactly a liability for the Aussies. McGrath was a key figure in Australia’s Ashes dominance during the 1990s and early 2000s, invariably making breakthroughs with the new ball. If he hadn’t stood on a ball during the Edgbaston warm-ups, the spectacular 2005 series could have turned out very differently.
3. Hugh Trumble – 141 wickets
Hugh Trumble’s Test wickets all came in Ashes battles between 1890 and 1904. Trumble, who stood 6’4 and bowled quick off-spin, was particularly difficult to face on England’s soft, uncovered pitches. He bounce-tested batters in Australia as well, where he was able to mix it up and stay effective.
Trumble was named the best bowler Australia had sent to England by W.G. Grace because of his ability to vary his pace and his incredible accuracy in landing the ball in the right spot. He has the highest Ashes bowling average of anyone who has taken more than 101 wickets.
4. Stuart Broad – 131 wickets
Stuart Broad has seen it all in the Ashes, from pantomime villains to thrashings in Australia to series-defining performances. Broad first appeared on the scene in 2009, casting a magical spell to reclaim the urn for England. He’s had his share of lows since then, including some major setbacks in Australia, but he’s also had his share of highs.
The 8-15 victory at Trent Bridge in 2015 broke a slew of records and gave England the series. He tormented David Warner on his way to 23 wickets at an average of 26.65 in 2019.
5. Dennis Lillee – 128 wickets
Dennis Lillee, half of cricket’s most fearsome bowling duo, is one of the game’s all-time greats. The open shirt, trademark moustache, and massive delivery stride were a terrifying combination for batters all over the world, including English batters in the Ashes.
Lillee was a tearaway before her injury. He was hostile, quick, and always aggressive, torturing England’s batters to the tune of a 22.32 average in The Ashes. He was the all-time leading Test wicket-taker when he retired in 1984.
6. Ian Botham – 128 wickets
The player in sixth place is former England cricketer and bowler Ian Botham, who excelled in the Ashes series in the 1980s. He has 128 Ashes wickets and has bowled with an Eco of 2.97 in his career, which lasted from 1977 to 1989, and his best bowling figure in an innings was 6/95.
7. Bob Willis – 123 wickets
The player in seventh place is former England cricketer and bowler Bob Willis, who played with great zeal in the 1970s. He has 123 wickets in his Ashes career and has bowled with an Eco of 2.78 between 1971 and 1983. In an inning, his best bowling figure was 8/43.
8. Monty Noble – 115 wickets
The player ranked eighth is a former Australian cricketer and one of the team’s earliest players, Monty Noble, and his performance in the late 1890s. In his career from 1898 to 1909, he had 115 wickets in the Ashes series and bowled with an Eco of 2.48 in this series, with his best figure being 7/17 in an innings.
9. Ray Lindwall – 114 wickets
The player in ninth place is former Australian cricketer and bowler Ray Lindwall, and his performance for his team in the 1950s. He has 114 wickets in the Ashes series and bowled with an Eco of 2.28 in his career, which spanned 1946 to 1959, with his best figure being 7/63 in an innings.
10. James Anderson – 112 wickets
The current best bowler in the Ashes series, cricketer James Anderson from the England cricket team, and his performance in the Ashes with a total of 112 wickets so far and a lot more to come in the upcoming series, is ranked 10th. In this series, he has an Eco of 2.95, and his best score is 6/47.