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Top 10 Bowlers in International Test Cricket in 2013

Updated on January 7, 2014

The relative inactivity of some teams during 2013 meant that some of the top ranked bowlers simply did not play enough matches to make it into the list of the top 10 wicket takers for the year. As with the batsmen, Australia and England dominate the list, taking up five spots.South Africa, despite being the top ranked team, were lucky to get two players into the top 10 with the world's top ranked bowler, Vernon Philander, only just making it into 10th place.

1. Stuart Broad

Heads the pack with 62 wickets at an average of 25.80 including five 5 wicket hauls. He also managed to take 10 wickets in a match on one occasion. His best bowling figures were 7/44, his career best for an innings. His year's best match figures of 11/121 were also a career best.

While England struggled with the bat during the year-end Ashes series in Australia, Broad's bowling figures were only slightly worse than his career average.

2. James Anderson

Took 52 wickets in 14 test matches with three 5 wicket hauls and one match haul of 10 wickets. His best bowling figures were 5/47.

Anderson's year ended on a disappointing note as he performed poorly in the Ashes series.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn | Source

3. Dale Steyn

After 182 weeks at the top of the rankings, Steyn was displaced by his teammate Vernon Philander after only taking one wicket in the Johannesburg test against India in December. He immediately bounced back with a match winning 9 wickets in Durban but was unable to regain his place as world number one.

Although Steyn did not top the list of wicket takers for 2013, his average of 17.66 was the best by any bowler on this list. He took 51 wickets including four 5 wicket hauls and one match haul of 10 wickets. His best bowling performance of 2013 was a remarkable 6/8 against Pakistan.

4. Trent Boult

Despite New Zealand languishing near the bottom of the test rankings, Boult was impressive in 2013. He took 46 wickets at an average of 25.08 with three 5 wicket hauls and one match haul of 10 wickets.

5. Graeme Swann

Despite featuring in fifth place, statistically Swann performed below average in 2013. His 43 wickets came at a cost of 34.09, significantly worse than his career average of 29.96. This was largely due to his disappointing performance in the year-end Ashes series, when he took just 7 wickets in three tests at an average of 80.00. He announced his retirement, effective immediately, after England lost the third Ashes test and thus the series.

His successes for the year were three 5 wicket hauls with one match haul of 10 wickets. His best bowling figures for 2013 were 6/90.

Peter Siddle
Peter Siddle | Source

6. Peter Siddle

Took 42 wickets at an average of 30.21, which is slightly worse than his career average of 28.68. However he put in an impressive performance at the end of the year, helping Australia to regain the Ashes.

He took two 5 wicket hauls with best bowling figures of 5/50.

7. Nathan Lyon

Though not in the class of Shane Warne, Lyon proved to be a useful spinner for Australia with results improving as the year progressed, culminating in a good performance in the Ashes.

He took 42 wickets at an average of 34.02 with two 5 wicket hauls including career best figures of 7/94.

8. Ravichandran Ashwin

In only 7 matches Ashwin took an impressive 41 wickets at an average of 22.51 including four 5 wicket hauls and one match haul of 10 wickets. His best bowling figures in an innings were 7/103, while his best match figures of 12/198 made him one of only two bowlers to take 12 wickets in a single match in 2013.

Despite his successes earlier in the year, he failed to take any wickets against South Africa in Johannesburg and lost his place in the Indian team for their final match of 2013.

9. Saeed Ajmal

Just managed to break into the top 10 during a match which started on 31 December 2013 and ended on 4 January 2014. He took two wickets on 31 December, but was unable to add to his tally during the rest of the match.

During 2013 Ajmal took 39 wickets at an average of 24.28 with best bowling figures of 7/95 in an innings. He took three 5 wicket hauls and twice took ten or more wickets in a match.

10. Vernon Philander

While Philander finished the year as the world's top ranked bowler, he only just made it into 10th place after only playing 8 tests in 2013.

He took 38 wickets at a miserly average of 18.05 with two 5 wicket hauls and best bowling figures of 5/7.

Honourable mention - Ryan Harris

Ryan Harris was unlucky to finish 11th on the list. Like Vernon Philander he took 38 wickets, but his average of 21.94 was slightly worse than Philander's average. His best bowling figures were 7/117 and he took two 5 wicket hauls during 2013.

What the rankings say

For the record, according to the official rankings after the conclusion of the last test match of the year, the top 10 ranked bowlers were:

  1. Vernon Philander
  2. Dale Steyn
  3. Rangana Herath
  4. Saeed Ajmal
  5. Ryan Harris
  6. Peter Siddle
  7. Ravichandran Ashwin
  8. Pragyan Ojha
  9. Stuart Broad
  10. Trent Boult

To see a list of the current top 100 bowlers in test cricket, see the first link below.

The second link is to Cricinfo’s full list of bowling records by the best bowlers who ever played the game. See the link at the top of the record page to find all the records for 2013.

Players from last year’s top 10 who failed to make the list this year:

1. Rangana Herath - Due to Sri Lanka playing little test cricket in 2013, Herath was only able to take 21 wickets in four tests. However his average was an impressive 22.85 and his best bowling figures in a match, a career best 12/157, were the best by any bowler in a test match in 2013. His world ranking improved from 5 to 3.

8. Kemar Roach - Played two test matches against Zimbabwe in March, but was unable to represent the West Indies during the latter part of 2013 due to a shoulder injury.

10. Morne Morkel - Surprisingly he was only able to take 19 wickets in 8 matches with best bowling figures of 3/14. His average, a respectable 27.42, was still better than his career average of 29.91.


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