Fast bowling is one of the hardest crafts to master and maintain in all of sport, akin to that of pitching in baseball.
Right now, we have some exceptional fast bowlers in the world of test cricket, but just where do they stack up against each other?
To qualify for this article, a bowler will have had to at least played in their countries’ most recent Test series, or be included in their current test squad – Mitchell Starc IS eligible.
- India – Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav
While they are rarely same in the same match together on their home tracks in India, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav have proven to be lethal together when both on song.
They bowled best together in Australia in the Border-Gavaskar trophy in 2014, where they took 11 wickets together. If they bowled together more, they would have more opportunity to build up a better partnership and may indeed be higher on this list.
- South Africa – Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel
For the longest time these two were the benchmark for a test bowling attack. Feared on the pitch (as well as off it) Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel defined fear when it came to fast bowling.
Whilst neither bowler had their best year in 2015, and have henceforth slipped down the ranks, on any given day either bowler can terrorise a batting lineup, and for the sake of cricket, I hope we see it in 2016.
- Australia – Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc
As an Australian, I would love to have Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc higher, but with Starc recovering from a long injury layoff, I cannot conceivably have the duo any higher.
At ages 25 and 26 respectively, the two lanky New South Welshmen will conceivably have long test careers in Australia’s attack, perhaps as the countries’ best since Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson.
- New Zealand – Trent Boult and Tim Southee
Another young partnership that has plenty of years to crescendo, Trent Boult and Tim Southee did again not have their best year last year, but were both consistent, and either rarely went an innings without a wicket.
With Brendon McCullum retiring from international cricket after their last test series, both men will now have to step up as two of the leaders in a group that is starting to rebuild through the middle order.
Their recent destruction of an admittedly tame Sri Lankan batting lineup is proof enough that Stuart Broad and James Anderson are the best international bowling attack in the world right now.
15 wickets between them in the first test, and currently three and two wickets respectively in the second and Sri Lanka are set for a long test series facing these two English superstars.