Home > Features > Facts and figures >

Ryan Harris: First fast bowler to take 100 Test wickets making debut after 30

Ryan Harris © Getty Images
Ryan Harris  defied a loose bone in the knee to help Australia script a memorable Test series win in South Africa © Getty Images

By Bharath Ramaraj

Of all fast bowlers to have made their debut after 30, Australian speedster Ryan Harris has just become the first to pick up a hundred Test wickets.

When Harris thunders into the crease and hurls the red cherry with a zestful vigour and transcendent control, one doesn’t envisage him as an embodiment of brain and brawn. However, the late bloomer from New South Wales has that ability to stealthily deliver the coup de grace on the unsuspecting batsman. Recently, he went onto take 100 Test wickets in only his 24th Test.

It is interesting to note that he is first fast bowler to take 100 Test wickets among those who have made their debut after 30. Harris, passing the coveted landmark after the age of 30 itself give an indication about his never-say-die attitude to bleed to bones to taste the glory of success.

In the final Test of the series that sheer willpower was evident in a crystal clear manner when he slipped in a toe-crushing yorker to send back the resolute Dale Steyn packing to the pavilion. He followed it up by snaring the last man’s wicket, Morne Morkel to seal the deal for Australia.

Now, it wasn’t just about Harris taking vital wickets to help Australia script a memorable win. It was more about the fabled story of a cricketer who showcased warrior-like perseverance to withstand a swollen knee and pain killers to land the deadly blows. He wasn’t even expected to last a spell with that swollen knee, but went onto bowl 25 overs full of indefatigable stamina.

Harris on his awe-inspiring burst, “If the captain tells you to bowl, you need to bowl, especially [in] Test matches like that. That’s our job, to win Test matches, but when you’ve got bowlers at the other end like Mitch [Johnson], if you say no then it would have been embarrassing,” as reported by The Australian.

He also said, “All I know is I was trying to bowl as fast as I could,” he said. “I didn’t even know I’d bowled Steyn until the boys celebrated.”

In the first innings of the Test at Cape Town too, he gave a glimpse of his ability to out-think the batsman by bowling full and reversing it both ways. The essence of his bowling can be encapsulated by how he sent South Africa’s premier batsman, Hashim Amla’s stumps cartwheeling out of the ground. Amla has that mystical brilliance surrounding his batsmanship, as he can play wondrous shots without getting to the pitch of the ball. Occasionally though, he can lose the plot by playing away from the body or leaving a gap between bat and pad. Harris explored that option by using the crease and bowling a jaw-dropping delivery with the old ball that tailed into Amla to shatter his stumps. In short, his bowling is akin to a cheetah relying on tall grasses to stealthily hunt its prey.

Harris’ 100th Test wicket — that of Alviro Petersen — was a just reward for all the blood, sweat and toil over the years. Intriguingly, he is only the fourth and the first fast bowler to achieve that milestone after completing 30 years of age.

The table below lists the bowlers who completed that landmark after crossing 30 years.

Bowler

Age at the time of taking 100 wickets

Clarrie Grimmett

39 years and 22 days

Dilip Doshi

34 years and 167 days

Saeed Ajmal

34 years and 102 days

Ryan Harris

34 years and 140 days

The table shows how difficult it is for a fast bowler to do well after crossing 30 years. But Harris is a sui generis in that sense, as even at 34, he is taking a truckload of wickets.

Harris may not have too many years left in him. He has gone under the surgeon’s table many times and his recent knee surgery won’t help matters either. But he seems to have that ability to bounce back every time and leave everyone gasping for breath with his soul-lifting endeavours.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Kingstown, St Vincent

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014  at Harare

Zimbabwe won by 3 wkts

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Photos

Australia vs Zimbabwe, ODI tri-series at Harare

Videos

Misbah disppointed with Pakistan's performance

Australia’s losses to minnows in limited-overs cricket

India tour of England 2014: Who is Jason Roy?

Zimbabwe’s 12 most memorable victories in international cricket

Zimbabwe vs Australia, 4th ODI: Highlights

Elton Chigumbura-Prosper Utseya partnership takes Zimbabwe to historic win over Australia

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 Australia vs Zimbabwe England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 Zimbabwe vs Australia

Sourav Ganguly: England have mental block playing spinners

BCCI official: Tough for board to host Annual General Meeting this month

Javed Miandad, Abdul Qadir question mindset of Pakistan players

Aditya Verma: Happy with Supreme Court’s decision not to reinstate N Srinivasan as BCCI president

Misbah-ul-Haq shouldn’t lead Pakistan any more, feel former players

Myth busting – Ranji, CB Fry, Sussex and the fertile mind of Neville Cardus

Duncan Fletcher’s heroics and Zimbabwe’s first win over Australia

Archie MacLaren’s amateurs fell Warwick Armstrong’s mighty Australians in one of cricket’s greatest fairytales

David Bairstow: A champion claimed by depression

Should Michael Clarke cut down on playing time ahead of ICC World Cup 2015?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

668 Posts | 6 Fans

Yuvraj Singh's ton against MCC

Sony SmartWatch 3 and SmartBand Talk leaked ahead of September 4 launch

Motorola Moto G successor will also be called Moto G, leaked photo from Flipkart warehouse suggests

Revealed: Celebs you might see in Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss 8

BCCI official: Tough for board to host Annual General Meeting this month

NGOs pursue education for all

Shah Rukh Khan to start shooting for Fan and Raees next year!

Fifty BJP MPs stage dharna against UP government

Xiaomi Redmi 1S on flash sale on Sept 2, will Flipkart crash once again?

How to plan a home birth

9 blood cancer signs and symptoms you should know

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here