Claiming the 100th Test wicket of one’s career is an important milestone for any bowler and can be seen as a player staking their claim as an international star.
Internationally, England icon Geoff Lohmann reached the mark faster than any other man when he brought up his ton at the Old Wanderers in Johannesburg in 1896. The second Test of England’s 1896 tour was the 16th of Lohmann’s career. He eclipsed a mark of 17 matches established just over a year earlier by Australia seamer Charlie ‘Terror’ Turner.
Three players have since matched Turner’s effort, but none have eclipsed Lohmann. Pakistan’s Yasir Shah also took 17 matches to take 100 wickets and is the quickest man to the milestone in the 21st century.
Here, we look at the five South African bowlers who brought up their 100s in the fewest matches.
5. Kagiso Rabada – 22 matches
- Rabada took less than two years to notch 100 wickets in Test cricket. He reached the milestone in his 22nd Test, which came against Bangladesh in Bloemfontein. Rabada’s 100th Test victim was Mohammad Mahmudullah, who was brilliantly caught by Dean Elgar in the gully after trying to drive off the back foot.
4. Allan Donald – 22 matches
- Donald was at the peak of his powers when South Africa returned to Test cricket, making him the hero of many who grew up in the 1990s. He took his 100th scalp against England at the Wanderers, bowling well for minimal reward as the tourists scrapped their way to a draw.
3. Hugh Tayfield – 22 matches
- Tayfield remains arguably the best off-spinner to have played the game for South Africa. His 9-113 against England remains the best innings figures by a South African bowler in Test cricket. Tayfield held the South African record for the fewest Test matches to reach 100 wickets for 53 years.
2. Dale Steyn – 20 matches
- Steyn established a new record in 2008, racing to 100 wickets in just 20 Test matches. A loose drive from Bangladesh opener Junaid Siddique allowed Mark Boucher to complete the catch that gave Steyn the record in Chattogram (now Chittagong), as South Africa won by an innings and 205 runs.
1. Vernon Philander – 19 matches
- Steyn’s record stood for just five years before Philander one-upped him when he had Shikhar Dhawan caught in the slips during the first Test of India’s 2013-14 tour. Philander ended his Test career after the 2019-20 series against England with 224 wickets to his name in the format.
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