5 bowlers who ruled No. 1 Test ranking for many years

These bowlers mastered topping the ranking charts for years.

2. Muttiah Muralitharan (2003, 2006-2008)

Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan 2-1
Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka bowls. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

There may not be a single bowling record that Muttiah Muralitharan hasn’t achieved. Most Test wickets, most Test five-wicket hauls, most ten wicket-hauls in Tests, most balls bowled by any bowler in the history of Test cricket and many more. Moreover, no other bowler is even close to any of these records.

In a career that lasted for almost two decades, Muralitharan has taken 800 wickets in Test cricket. He had an average of 22.72 in 133 Test matches. The off-spinner took 67 five-wicket hauls and 22 ten-fers in his Test career. He was absolutely brilliant and was the heart of Sri Lanka’s bowling attack through the 1990s and 2000s.

He first rose to the No. 1 Test rank in 2003 and was at the top for about a year. However, he was back at the top of the rankings in 2006 and ruled the No. 1 Test rank for three years. However, it was Dale Steyn in 2008-09 who took over and dominated the top spot for the next few years.


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