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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 September, 2003, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Pollock joins growing band
By Martin Gough

Pollock celebrates
Two thumbs up: Pollock reaches 300 with Vaughan's wicket
The club of Test bowlers to have taken 300 wickets is less exclusive than it used to be but that should not cloud the achievement of South Africa's Shaun Pollock.

When England's Fred Trueman claimed 300 Test scalps, also at The Oval, against Australia in 1964, he was breaking new ground.

By the time Pollock joined him 39 years later, he was the 19th member of the 300 club, incidentally the fifth to join at this ground.

Although just five 300-wicket men are still playing Test cricket, a further five have recently retired, saying much about the volume of matches in the new millennium.

Pollock's progress in terms of matches played and balls bowled are unremarkable: in his 73rd Test he is the 15th fastest to the landmark, and a strike rate of a wicket every 53.9 deliveries ranks ninth in the group.

However, just one bowler - West Indian spinner Lance Gibbs - has kept batsmen to less than Pollock's 2.27 runs per over, and an average of 20.49 is the best of the lot.

Those figures accurately describe Pollock's miserly method.

The flame-haired tearaway who rattled the helmets of two unsuspecting England batsmen - including Mike Atherton - on debut in 1995 has throttled back a little.

Eight years later, looking considerably more experienced than most 30-year-olds, he has forsaken pace to be, alongside Australia's Glenn McGrath, one of Test cricket's most accurate bowlers.

If you find exactly the same spot with each delivery, and can move the ball off the seam at will, wickets will surely follow.

Credit has been paid to the influence of father Peter, who could have taken far more than his own tally of 116 Test scalps had he been able to gain more than 28 caps.

CA Walsh (519), SK Warne (491), M Muralitharan (459), N Kapil Dev (434), RJ Hadlee (431), GD McGrath (430), Wasim Akram (414), CEL Ambrose (405), IT Botham (383), MD Marshall (376), Waqar Younis (373), Imran Khan (362), DK Lillee (355), A Kumble (349), AA Donald (330), RGD Willis (325), LR Gibbs (309), FS Trueman (307), SM Pollock (300*)
Current players in bold
But his greatest influence was an earlier arrival in the over-300s; late, great West Indian Malcolm Marshall spent four years with provincial side Natal in Pollock's formative years.

"Everything I've learned about bowling since then has just been a refinement of something he taught me," Pollock once said of a man he described as his mentor.

Just as the relatively-diminutive Bajan was surrounded by a fearsome pace corps, Pollock had Allan Donald - South Africa's inaugural member of the 300 club - and now Makhaya Ntini at the other end.

"Batsmen always played a few more shots against me when Allan was at the other end," Pollock said after reaching his landmark.

And as with all Test cricket's finest performers, his landmark 300th wicket was a truly memorable one.

England captain Michale Vaughan, earlier this year rated the best batsman in the world, chasing a ball a little to wide to be driven into the hands of a waiting third slip.

"It is special as milestones don't come around very too often so when they do you should enjoy them," Pollock admitted.

"It was also great the way I did it: Vaughan is rated as the best batter in England's line-up and has been at the top of the world rankings so that made it better."

Statistics may not mark Pollock out as unique, but he has proven himself up with the best.

Links to more Eng v SA 2003 stories


South Africa's Shaun Pollock
"It's nice to reach the milestones"


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