Broaderson set for magic milestones

England duo closes in on all-time pace record as McGrath praises Australia's Ashes rivals

Nine years ago in March 2008, just across the Tasman Sea in Wellington, New Zealand, one of the most prolific fast bowling pairs in Test history played their first Test together.

Today, James Anderson and Stuart Broad feature in their 100th Test as teammates, a partnership that has seen them win Ashes series, rise to the top of the world Test team rankings and take a lot of wickets.

Seven-hundred and sixty-one wickets, to be precise.

That number, 761, is just one shy of the world record for the most productive fast-bowling partnership in Test history.

Ferocious West Indies duo Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose hold the record, whom in 95 Tests blasted out 762 terrified batsmen.

Ambrose and Walsh terrorised batsmen for years // Getty
Ambrose and Walsh terrorised batsmen for years // Getty

On their way to what is sure to be the title as the best pace pair of all time, Anderson and Broad surpassed legendary duos like Pakistan’s Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Australia’s Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie, and England’s own Ian Botham and Bob Willis.

An analysis of the 99 matches they’ve played together reveals how they get the best out of each other.

Of Anderson’s 25 five-wicket hauls, 22 have come with Broad by his side. Likewise for Broad, 13 of his 15 five-fors were captured with Anderson in the XI.

In addition, the five 10-wicket match hauls the pair have produced (Anderson three, Broad two) have been in matches together.

Broad and Anderson celebrate a wicket in their first Test together, in 2008 // Getty
Broad and Anderson celebrate a wicket in their first Test together, in 2008 // Getty

At 761, Anderson (407 wickets) and Broad (354) are still a long way off the record for the best Test tandem in history.

That title is owned by all-conquering Australians McGrath and Shane Warne, whom in 104 Tests dismissed 980 batsmen.

Earlier this week, McGrath paid tribute to England’s hugely successful speedsters and the longevity they’ve sustained in almost a decade as partners in crime.

"To being able to front up day in and day out and bowl fast is a pretty big thing," McGrath told

McGrath and Gillespie enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership // Getty
McGrath and Gillespie enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership // Getty

"They’re two fairly different types of bowlers.

"Jimmy is a swing bowler. When the ball is swinging he can take it both ways and is the best bowler in the world.

"Then you’ve got Broady, who’s a hit-the-deck type of bowler. He gets a bit of bounce, a bit of seam movement and occasionally a bit of shape.

"They complement each other and they’re not too similar. The fact they’ve been able to bowl in tandem for 100 Tests is pretty significant."

Anderson and Broad celebrate a wicket in the West Indies // Getty
Anderson and Broad celebrate a wicket in the West Indies // Getty

Not only are Anderson and Broad tight on the field, they’ve formed a strong friendship away from cricket.

McGrath, who played 58 Tests with South Australia’s Gillespie, says building a solid bond with your new-ball partner goes a long way to individual and team success.

"They say batting is in partnerships but bowling just as much in partnerships and equally as important,” he said.

"If you’ve got the same guy at the other end, you know how you two go about it, which side of the ball they’re shining, how they bowl and what happens to the ball, so you get in a routine and you know what’s coming.

"Then you can start stringing maidens together and building pressure from both ends.

Another iconic pace duo, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram // Getty
Another iconic pace duo, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram // Getty

"I was lucky to have Jason at the other end.

"We were more similar styles of bowlers – he was a bit quicker and had pretty good control.

"It’s important to have the same guy at the other end over a long time. You can build a really good partnership."

McGrath says the England spearheads deserve to go down in history as two of Test cricket’s greatest seam bowlers.

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"If you can get the numbers on the board and hold the records then you deserve to be classed the best partnership in the world, or the best bowlers for that country," McGrath said, with Anderson and Broad the top-two wicket-takers for England.

"They definitely deserve it, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve done an incredible job for England.

"When you’re beating guys like Wasim and Waqar, and Courtney and Curtly, there’s some significant partnerships up there. It’s pretty special."

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While’s McGrath’s record with Warne will not be broken in the foreseeable future, his record as Test cricket’s most successful fast bowler is under threat from Anderson.

Anderson, who has 514 Test wickets in 131 matches, is just 39 wickets from equaling McGrath’s mark of 563 from 124 Tests.

But should Anderson overtake him, McGrath will be the first one to congratulate him.

"Records are there to be broken," he said.

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"If Jimmy is good enough he’ll get there. If he keeps playing for another year or two, he’ll definitely get there.

"If he can get it good luck to him. I wish him all the best."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21