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Friday, 13 December, 2002, 09:11 GMT
Murali 'best bowler ever'
Muttiah Muralitharan has been revealed as the top Test bowler in history, ranking alongside top batsman Don Bradman, according to cricket bible Wisden.

Muralitharan
Muralitharan has 437 Test wickets
Wisden's statistical analysis of every single Test match put the Sri Lankan three places ahead of his Australian spin rival Shane Warne.

Between them are New Zealand's Richard Hadlee, and Sydney Barnes, whose 189 for England between 1901/02 - 1913/14 brought an average of 16.43 - the lowest of 20th century Test cricketers.

In 78 Tests, Muralitharan has 437 wickets - third behind Courtney Walsh and Warne - at an average of 23.52.

His ranking, "emphasises the lone-wolf role he has played in Sri Lankan cricket for so long," according to Wisden.com editor Steven Lynch.

Muralitharan, currently in Brisbane with the Sri Lanka side, was surprised by the news.

"No.1 is a great honour and I don't rank myself so high," he said.

The spinner has been dogged by accusations of throwing, but his bowling action has been cleared due to a congenitally deformed arm.

"What I have gone through shouldn't happen to any other bowler, whether it be Brett Lee or Shoaib Akhtar," he said.

"It is very hard to keep going when everyone is looking at you all the time but everything is past and gone."

Bradman without equal

Bradman is followed by Sachin Tendulkar of India and West Indian pair Viv Richards and Garfield Sobers. Australia's Allan Border, with the most Test career runs with 11,174, is fifth.

The list's compilers took such factors as the strength of opposition and the importance of each performance. Players were also rewarded for consistency over long careers.

"The expected score for a top performer was around 1000 points - and The Don managed 1349," said Lynch.

"Just like his fabulous Test batting average of 99.94, this deservedly left him way clear of the field."

Wisden caused controversy two years ago when its statistical ranking of the top 100 Test innings did not include a single appearance by Indian legend Tendulkar.

Richards was reckoned the best batsman in one-day international cricket, while Pakistan's Wasim Akram is the best limited-overs bowler.


Test batting
1 DG Bradman (Aus) 1349.0 pts
2 SR Tendulkar (Ind) 921.5
3 IVA Richards (WI) 913.9
4 GA Sobers (WI) 912.0
5 AR Border (Aus) 911.2

Test bowling
1 M Muralitharan (SL) 1320.4
2 RJ Hadlee (NZ) 1232.9
3 SF Barnes (Eng) 1209.3
4 SK Warne (Aus) 1195.8
5 CV Grimmett (Aus) 1184.8

ODI batting
1 IVA Richards (WI) 1132.5
2 SR Tendulkar (Ind) 1119.3
3 BC Lara (WI) 1036.8
4 DM Jones (Aus) 1022.1
5 MG Bevan (Aus) 1016.7

ODI bowling
1 Wasim Akram (Pak) 1223.5
2 AA Donald (SA) 1180.1
3 Waqar Younis (Pak) 1167.1
4 GD McGrath (Aus) 1165.9
5 J Garner (WI) 1160.7

See also:

27 Jul 01 | Cricket
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