McGrath set to overtake Walsh

Glenn McGrath has his sights set on overtaking Courtney Walsh as the world's most successful test paceman this summer.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:54 IST
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Glenn McGrath has his sights set on overtaking Courtney Walsh as the world's most successful test paceman this summer. McGrath joined Walsh in test cricket's exclusive 500-wickets club on Thursday. McGrath needed just one wicket going into the first Ashes test at Lord's but, when Australia won the toss and elected to bat, many thought it wouldn't happen on the opening day. That was before Steve Harmison took five wickets to lead an England bowling assault which demolished the Australian lineup for just 190. McGrath strikes McGrath's three overs before tea yielded no wickets but, on the first ball after the break, the 35-year-old struck, capturing the scalp of Marcus Trescothick, caught by Justin Langer at third slip for 4. Teammate Michael Kasprowicz brought McGrath a pair of specially made boots with "500" embroidered in gold. Wearing his new boots, McGrath needed only four more balls to snare his 501st wicket when he had Andrew Strauss caught in the slips. He followed that with the wickets of Michael Vaughan, Ian Bell and Andrew Flintoff to end up taking 5-2 in the space of 31 balls, and finished the day with 504 wickets from 110 tests. Shane Warne, who went wicketless on the opening day, holds the all-time wickets record with 583, followed by fellow spinner Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka on 539. Retired West Indies quick Walsh was third with 519. "Courtney's 519, I'm 504 now, I like to think I can get 15 wickets in another four-and-a-half test matches," McGrath said. Support from the stands An entourage of family members and friends watched McGrath make history. "I had to beg, borrow and steal tickets but I got over the line in the end," he said. "I guess it makes it that little bit more special to have all the family and all my friends here so it was a pretty good day." McGrath believed consistency was the key to his success. "There's no real secret to taking wickets," he said. "I've always said that if you can land 99 balls out of 100 where you want to bowl it, generally hitting the deck, top of off stump, then you will take wickets. It's pretty simple stuff but at the end of the day the complicated thing is to keep it simple. "I think that's what I've done reasonably well throughout my career, is get enough balls in the right area." (AP)