Seamer Vernon Philander surpassed Australian Merv Hughes’ tally of 212 Test wickets on day two of South Africa’s series opener against Sri Lanka at Kingsmead in Durban.
Philander currently has 213, after removing batsman Dimuth Karunarante and Kusal Mendis in relatively quick succession through Thursday’s first session.
The South African required five more Tests, but some 1800 fewer deliveries than the Australian to reach 213. The last of the Australian’s 53 Tests was in 1994.
Two more will see Philander surpass Australian Peter Siddle’s 215. Two more than that, and he will go past Zimbabwean Heath Streak and Australian Clarrie Grimmett’s 216. Notably, the late Grimmett required a mere 37 Tests to reach 216.
Philander is South Africa’s seventh-highest wicket-taker in the longest format of the international game, after sextet Dale Steyn, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel, Allan Donald and Jacques Kallis.
Steyn passed Pollock as the country’s top Test wicket-taker late last year – and this week progressed beyond Indian Kapil Dev’s 434. Steyn is currently world cricket’s eighth-highest wicket-taker.
His average of 22.77 is the third best among Test competition’s top 10 wicket-takers, after Australian Glenn McGrath’s 21.64 and Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan’s 22.72.
Muralitharan is Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker with 800, followed by Australian Shane Warne’s 708, Indian Anil Kumble’s 619, Englishman James Anderson’s 565, McGrath’s 563 and West Indian Courtney Walsh’s 519.