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Top 10 Aussie Caps - Glenn McGrath

UPDATED 09 December, 2012 9:31AM AEST | by Martin Gabor

A tall right arm seamer, Glenn McGrath played 124 Test matches for Australia, which places him at number 6 on our countdown list.

From a young age, all Australian bowlers are taught to focus on two things; line and length.

While most players might throw this advice out the window in a bid to bowl out and out pace, Glenn McGrath’s reliance on these two simple principles allowed him to become the world’s most successful fast bowler.

With his probing length and immaculate line, McGrath finished with 563 wickets in the longer form of the game.

No fast bowler has come close to breaking the record since his retirement.

Despite only limited First Class experience, McGrath was thrust into the Test side in the 1993/94 series against New Zealand.

Unlike most emerging players at that time, McGrath was able to hold down his spot in the side permanently. 

Consistent performances by the New South Welshman had turned him into one of the most feared quicks in the world.

The 2000 home series against West Indies was full of milestones for the paceman.

In the second Test at the WACA, McGrath brought up his 300th Test scalp (Brian Lara) in the middle of a spell that included a hat-trick.

It is safe to say that he was the obvious Man of the Match.

Although injuries were starting to take their toll on the big man, McGrath fought through the pain barrier to continue his record breaking career.

The number 11 batsman had always struggled with the bat; highlighted by his record number of ducks.

However, years of extra work in the nets with Steve Waugh paid dividends, when McGrath produced a highly entertaining 61 against New Zealand.

The innings had teammates in stitches, but it was a moment to savour for the “all-rounder”.

Later that year, McGrath achieved his best bowling figures in another dominant WACA display.

Against the hapless Pakistanis, the quick made a mockery of their batting line-up, finishing with a staggering 8/24 off 16 overs.

There was even a chance for him to take all 10 wickets, but Michael Kasprowicz intervened with two late scalps of his own.

A stunning start to the 2005 Ashes tour had Australia destined for another series win on foreign soil, when McGrath took nine wickets in a crushing first Test victory.

However, things went downhill from there from both a personal and team perspective.

On the morning of the second Test, the opening bowler stepped on a rogue cricket ball during the warm-up.

The subsequent ankle injury saw McGrath miss two of the next four matches, while Australia went on to lose the series.

The only thing left to do was to reclaim the Ashes on home soil.

McGrath had a habit of predicting outcomes ahead of matches, and was often proved right.

Going into the first Test, he boldly predicted a 5-0 sweep for the Australians.

He couldn’t have been more correct.

His 21 wickets for the series were crucial, which culminated in emotional scenes when he and Shane Warne left the SCG together for the final time.

Number 5 - Eight is Still Great

On the back of ankle surgery, many questioned whether the paceman would return to his supreme form.

In 2004/05, the touring Pakistani party found out first hand just how good McGrath still was.

Chasing 564 for victory, the Pakistanis were always going to struggle on the bouncy WACA surface.

Their job was made even more difficult the second McGrath picked up the new ball.

It was a trademark display from the opening bowler, whose line and length, coupled with steep bounce, was virtually unplayable.

Career best 8/24 off 16 overs could have been a perfect 10, but Michael Kasprowicz “unfortunately” chimed in with two late wickets.

Number 4 – Batting Master Class

November 20 2004 will be a day long remembered in McGrath’s esteemed history.

It wasn’t a game where he took a load of wickets. Rather, it was the day he starred with the bat.

In a career that yielded 641 runs, McGrath amassed almost 10% of these in a gorgeous Gabba knock.

Instead of accepting his poor batting records, McGrath worked tirelessly in the nets to improve his game.

The extra efforts paid off against New Zealand, when the number 11 stunned the world to record his sole Test half century.

The 61 even launched a new line of bats, although they weren’t overly popular with other elite players.

Number 3 – Bouncing onto the Scene

When a young McGrath toured the West Indies for the first time in 1995, he did something that no fast bowler had ever done before; he intimated the West Indies.

Whether it was to the top-order, or especially the lower order, McGrath peppered the hosts with a barrage of bouncers that unsettled his more fancied opponents.

It was a brave tactic that reaped rewards, with their experienced rivals reeling in awe of this new-faced foe.

Number 2 – That Catch

In a glittering career full of bowling heroics, it is tough for a piece of fielding to make the top five.

However, few can deny the incredible sights of the Pigeon in full flight when he took a screamer to remove Michael Vaughan in 2002.

With Australia on top, Shane Warne tempted the English batsman with a well flighted delivery on leg stump.

The top edged sweep looked destined to travel for six; that is until McGrath took flight.

After sprinting 30 metres across the mid-wicket fence, McGrath dived full length to his left to take the grab.

Replays showed he went for the ball with his left hand, but the ball somehow stuck in the right.

Number 1 – Brian the Bunny

While McGrath might have been a bunny to most opposition bowlers, the record breaking quick had a few bunnies of his own.

One of them happened to be West Indian superstar Brian Lara.

In the second Test at the WACA, McGrath produced a breathtaking spell of fast bowling that ultimately destroyed the visitors.

Opener Sherwin Campbell was the first wicket to fall when he edged a regulation catch to Ricky Ponting.

This brought Lara to the crease, whose first ball was slashed straight to a fumbling Stuart MacGill at gully.

That was his 300th Test wicket, and put him on a hat-trick.

West Indian captain Jimmy Adams strode nervously to the crease, and his simple fend to short leg was almost inevitable.

It was a moment to remember for McGrath, who achieved two historic milestones in the space of three deliveries.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 09 December, 2012 9:30AM AEST

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