Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah smashed a record that stood for 82 years by becoming the fastest bowler to take 200 wickets in Test cricket on Thursday.
The 32-year-old dismissed Will Somerville in Abu Dhabi to reach the milestone in his 33rd Test, beating Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s long-standing mark of 36 Tests achieved against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1936.
Earlier, Yasir had tormented New Zealand on his way to a match haul of 14/184 in the second Test match to help Pakistan achieve a series-leveling win by an innings and 16 runs. Yasir’s figures in Dubai were the second best match return ever for Pakistan in Test cricket, bettered only by former captain and current prime minister Imran Khan who took 14-116 against Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1982.
Shah had admitted that the record was in his mind, ahead of this series-deciding Test, but didn’t know too much about the previous holder of it.
“Grimmett? I don’t know much about him,” said Yasir. “He played so many years ago, but I know about the record because his name comes first whenever I see the list.”
Since taking seven wickets on debut against Australia in 2014, Yasir has been a key figure in Pakistan’s Test team. He took 12 wickets in that 2-0 series win over Australia in United Arab Emirates in 2014 and followed that with 15 against New Zealand in a 1-1 draw the same year. That was followed by 24 wickets against Sri Lanka in 2015 and ten wickets in a match to beat England at Lord’s a year later. He took 21 and 25 wickets respectively in series wins over the West Indies.
Yasir reached 100 wickets in 17 Tests, second only to Englishman George Lohmann who reached the target in 16 matches during a Test in Johannesburg in 1896.
(With AFP inputs)