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Ashes: Ryan Harris rivals Thommo in race to ton of wickets


Joe Barton

Hot streak: Australian paceman Ryan Harris.

Hot streak: Australian paceman Ryan Harris. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Ryan Harris is in line to become the quickest Australian paceman to 100 Test wickets since Jeff Thomson more than 40 years ago.

Harris finished the Ashes whitewash with 22 wickets at 19.3 - taking his career tally to 93 scalps from his 21 Tests.

Not since Thomson and Dennis Lillee in the 1970s has an Australian quick reached the milestone in 22 Tests or less.

Harris could achieve the feat if in his next Test he produces his man-of-the-match-winning efforts at the SCG, where he claimed match figures of 8-61.

It highlights the importance of the late-blooming Harris, who didn't make his Test debut until he was 29 and has fought an ongoing battle with a degenerative knee complaint ever since.

Now 34, Harris has played nine straight Tests - a remarkable feat considering he'd never topped three consecutive Tests before last winter.

"To watch him get through nine in a row, I don't think he's ever got through nine games in a row," fast-bowling ally Peter Siddle said.

"To see him do that and push through and bowl the way he has is tremendous.

"He's just a great bloke to play alongside."

Even if Harris is able to claim seven wickets in the first Test of next month's South Africa tour, to be played at Centurion, he still won't have bettered the record of Proteas' spearhead Dale Steyn.

Steyn, regarded as the world's premier quick despite being bumped from top spot on the ICC bowling rankings by teammate Vernon Philander, reached the mark in 20 Tests.

"I'm not comparing myself to anyone," he said.

"I saw [Steyn's] figures ... 350 wickets in 69 Tests.

"That's just ridiculous. I go out and bowl, that's my job.

"Hopefully I get as many wickets as I can."


11 comments so far

  • Vernon Philander has played one less Test and has 12 more scalps.

    But no, Australia are the best attack in the world.

    Date and time
    January 08, 2014, 9:45AM
    • I didn't know West Indians read this page

      Date and time
      January 08, 2014, 12:41PM
    • Detox - Ya mon' we do, but all cool mon'

      Date and time
      January 08, 2014, 1:24PM
    • Hahahahaha one of your best

      Date and time
      January 08, 2014, 1:37PM
    • Didn't know Vernon was an Aussie?

      Headline miss
      Date and time
      January 08, 2014, 2:05PM
    • Well Mr Detox not only are you confused about where Australia really sits in the international cricket pecking order, but your reference to the West Indies seems to show just how confused about where cricketers come from. Vernon Philander is a born and bred South African. I am a born and bred Australian, but not that impressed by all the self adulation this current Australian team exhibits. Let's see how they go when they play a team who are not demoralised and fighting among themselves as England were. My tip is the Australian top order will look just as pedestrian as the Poms did when they face the South African quicks.

      In their own minds
      Date and time
      January 08, 2014, 2:44PM
    • Phat did you read the article? It seems not. I shall explain. It is about how many tests it took Thompson to get his first 100 wickets and how Harris compares in number of Tests etc. You really should learn to read otherwise you look a fool. Further more This is an Australian paper catering to Aussie supporters so get over it

      Armchair selector
      Date and time
      January 08, 2014, 4:05PM
  • Philander took five innings to get his first wicket last season in Australia, and that was with his pulling out of the Adelaide test - he bowled on the best tracks. That's why we don't rate him - slower than Shane Watson and needs helpful conditions or he's mostly harmless. Will be interesting to see Harris bowl on the green stuff in SA if they are stupid enough to lay the usual tracks down.

    Date and time
    January 08, 2014, 1:48PM
    • Actually it was his second.
      He went wicketless in Australia's only innings on a road in Brisbane, missed the Adelaide test with injury, and came back and took 2-55 and 2-41 in Perth.
      He averages 23 in England, 23 in the United Arab Emirates, 15 each in NZ and South Africa, and 49 in Australia in 3 innings.

      "If they are stupid enough to lay the usual tracks down."
      You mean like last time where they won a test after being bowled out for 90? What were Australia again, 9-23?

      They've been 7 years without losing a series away from home, and 4 without losing one anywhere. Pretty sure they can prepare whatever the hell they want and still be competitive.

      Date and time
      January 08, 2014, 4:44PM
    • You seem to be forgetting his wicketless showing in the warmup game vs the AUS 11. And Brisbane always plays tha same and strangely the AUS bowlers did a lot better than Philander. This year's Brisbane track was also a bit flat, but that didn't bother Johnson. But maybe that's because he bowls 30 clicks faster than Philander.

      There are two possibilities. Either philander is the greatest pace bowler of all time, bowling at 125 clicks (stats) or his figures are massively inflated by SA green tops. I know which option I'm going for.

      The Newlands wicket was a joke. 19 wickets in two sessions for 97 runs says it all. And yeah, nine of 'em were Saffas. Maybe you forgot that bit.

      Date and time
      January 08, 2014, 11:05PM

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