London, July 16th 2016- Pakistan’s leg-spinner the best at this stage of career in 125 years and could soon eclipse more 19th Century milestones against England
Yasir Shah has already written his name into the record books and is chasing more history in Pakistan’s current Test series against England.
The leg-spinner erased a 125-year-old milestone on the third morning at Lord’s, and requires just 18 more wickets to reach the 100 wicket landmark in world-record time.
Shah, currently playing his 13th Test – and his first outside Asia – ran through England on the second day of the first Test at Lord’s to earn a spot on the honours board with five wickets. He completed the job on the third morning, where he opened the bowling, and finished with 6-72 to take his career tally to 82 wickets.
That sixth wicket secured his spot as the most prolific wicket-taker in the history of the game after 13 Tests, beating the record previously set by Charlie Turner in 1893.
Australian seamer Turner had 81 wickets after he played his 13th Test against England at The Oval in August 1893, nearly 126 years ago.
This was Shah’s fifth five-wicket haul in 24 innings, and he still has England’s second innings to come before he’s done at Lord’s.
The fastest man to 100 Test wickets is currently England great George Lohmann, whose 18-match career in the 19th century garnered 112 wickets at the extraordinary average of 10.75, with his 100th scalp coming in his 16th Test.
That means Shah has potentially five innings to take the 18 wickets he needs if he is to break Lohmann’s 120-year-old record, or seven innings if he is to equal it.
The 30-year-old leg-spinner only debuted in October 2014, but has proven a revelation since, confounding all comers including Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and England.
Currently ranked fourth on the ICC Test bowling rankings, Shah is playing his first Test since returning from a three-month ban for an anti-doping violation.
Though much of the media attention in the lead-up to the Pakistan series against England centred on returning paceman Mohammad Amir, it was Shah who did the damage in the series opener on day two, removing England’s middle-order including key pair Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow to put his side in the ascendancy.
With England 7-253, the leg-spinner could even add to his 81 wickets before this innings is out, leaving him primed for a crack at Lohmann’s record through the remainder of the series.
Test matches – fastest to 100 Test wickets
16 matches: George Lohmann (Eng)
17 matches: Charlie Turner (Aus), Clarrie Grimmett (Aus), Sid Barnes (Eng)
18 matches: Ravi Ashwin (Ind)
19 matches: Colin Blythe (Eng), Alf Valentine (WI), Andy Roberts (WI), Ian Botham (Eng), Saeed Ajmal (Pak), Vernon Philander (SA)
20 matches: Bobby Peel (Eng), Maurice Tate (Eng), Bill O’Reilly (Aus), Wes Hall (WI), Erapalli Prasanna (Ind), Waqar Younis (Pak), Dale Steyn (SA), Mohammad Asif (Pak)