Rangana Herath's 14-184 and the Top 5 Test-Match Bowling Figures of 21st Century

Antoinette Muller@mspr1ntFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2014

Rangana Herath's 14-184 and the Top 5 Test-Match Bowling Figures of 21st Century

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    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

    Rangana Herath put in a stellar performance with the ball against Pakistan recently. His effort ranks as the second-best bowling figures in the 21st century. In an era supposedly favouring batsmen more and more, it is always encouraging to see bowlers get some credit. 

    The list comprises of three Sri Lankans, a South African and an Indian. We take a look at where and how they achieved the top figures of the current century.


    All stats via ESPNCricinfo. 

5. Makhaya Ntini 13-132 vs West Indies, 2005

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    ANDRES LEIGHTON/Associated Press

    Makhaya Ntini will always be remembered as one of South Africa's greatest-ever bowlers.

    Back in 2005, when South Africa toured the West Indies, he obliterated the Windies top order to help South Africa to an eight-wicket win in Trinidad.

    It was one of his finest-ever outings, and his 7-for-37 in the second innings is still the best for South Africa touring the islands. 

4. Muttiah Muralitharan 13-115 vs Zimbabwe, 2002

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    Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press

    The build-up to the Test was blighted by a power struggle between players and selectors, but that didn't stop Kandy's local hero from performing out of his skin.

    On the first day of the Test, Muttiah Muralitharan took all nine wickets that fell, leaving him just one short of breaking Jim Laker's record of 10-53. 

    Muralitharan didn't break that record in the end, but he chipped in with four more wickets in the second innings to help Sri Lanka to an emphatic innings and 94-run victory.

3. Chaminda Vaas 14-191 vs West Indies, 2001

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Back in 2001, Chaminda Vaas helped Sri Lanka to recover from a seemingly impossible position to get a 10-wicket win over the West Indies in Colombo.

    Batting first, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brian Lara and Carl Hooper imposed themselves on the Sri Lankans. But that would all soon change. Vaas started the capitulation that saw the Windies go from 347-4 to 390 all out. Lara's 221 was the shining beacon of that innings, but Vaas got rid of him too.

    After Sri Lanka's batsmen piled on the runs, he did it once again in the second innings, taking 7-71 while Brian Lara once again stood firm. Four of his seven wickets came in the for of lbws as Sri Lanka wrapped up an emphatic win.

2. Rangana Herath 14-184 vs Pakistan, 2014

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    Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press

    Rangana Herath always somewhat lived in the shadow of Muttiah Muralitharan, but he deserves a lot of credit.  He is an incredibly skilful bowler who has more than filled the boots of Muralitharan since he retired.

    While his recent outing might have been aided by Paksitan’s ineptitude, his ability to bamboozle batsmen should not be underestimated. 

    He is best suited to spinning decks with an average of just 23.77 in Sri Lanka in the 31 Tests he has played there.

1. Harbhajan Singh 15-217 vs Australia, 2001

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    SHERWIN CRASTO/Associated Press

    When the fear against spin sets in, everything starts to unravel at a rapid pace. That much was evident in 2001 in Chennai when Australia's middle and lower order collapsed in a heap.

    From being 339-3 to being 391 all out, Australia folded emphatically. Not a single player beyond No. 5 could get into double figures. The architect of this destruction was Harbhajan Singh. He claimed seven scalps in the first innings and followed it up with eight in the second.

    India managed a narrow two-wicket win, and it's a bowling performance that will forever be remembered as a textbook lesson in how not to play spin.