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2022 in Review

2022 in Review: Wisden’s men’s Test spells of the year, Nos.5-2

2022 In Review: Wisden’s Men’s Test Spells Of The Year, Nos.5-2
by Katya Witney 4 minute read

A panel of Wisden.com writers look back at the year gone by and pick the best men’s Test match spells of 2022.

Test match cricket was exhilarating in 2022, with India’s tour of South Africa and England’s tour of Australia entertaining early in the year before Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes’ revolution of England kept the cricket fraternity enthralled right up until the end of December. Australia’s Ashes victory and home wins over the West Indies and South Africa at the end of the year have set them up for a spot in the World Test Championship final at the Oval in 2023, while India look poised to join them.

In a year where Test cricket was largely dominated by the bat, here are the standout performances with the ball from the last 12 months.


2022 in Review: Wisden’s men’s Test spells of 2022

Nos. 5-2

No.5: Prabath Jayasuriya

16-2-59-6 v Australia
July 2022

If it is rare for a player to join the elite club of taking six wickets in an innings on Test debut, it is pretty much unheard-of to do so twice in the same match. Prabath Jayasuriya joined a group of four men. Having already taken 6-118 in the first innings of the second Test match against Australia in Galle, Jayasuriya went on to record the best-ever figures for a Sri Lanka men’s debutant in the second.

Australia were chasing 190 to make Sri Lanka bat again when Jayasuriya struck twice in his fifth over. He first dismissed Usman Khawaja and then Steve Smith plumb lbw – the first time in the match Smith was dismissed after he made an unbeaten century in the first innings. He then went on to take three wickets in five deliveries, finding prodigious turn that the batters were unable to cope with. Fittingly, he also took the final wicket, ripping one past Mitchell Swepson’s outside edge which clipped the top of off stump.

Jayasuriya’s spell gave Sri Lanka their first-ever innings victory over Australia and individual match figures of 12-177, the fourth best ever on Test debut.

No.4: Ollie Robinson

22-6-50-5 v Pakistan
December 2022

Robinson endured a difficult start to 2022 where he found himself out of the England side with concerns over his fitness to play at Test match level. However, he proved his considerable worth to England once more against Pakistan, in one of the toughest environments in the world for seam bowlers.

On the flattest of pitches in Rawalpindi, Robinson produced a masterful spell of persistence to finish one of England’s greatest ever victories. Throughout the final innings of the match, Robinson, along with James Anderson, used every ounce of his skill and guile to force wickets against the time constraints of the setting sun.

He threw everything at the batters to force wickets, following a short-pitched barrage with a miserly period of drying up the run rate, before hitting the final nail in Pakistan’s coffin with excellent reverse swing. The wickets included Saud Shakeel, who had boosted Pakistan’s chances of batting out the day, scoring 76 from 159.

While much of that Test will be remembered for the chaos reeked by England’s batters on day one, Robinson’s spell on day five was a brilliant demonstration of determination and skill, which forced a victory where most would have walked away with a draw.

No.3: Matt Henry

15-7-23-7 v South Africa
February 2022

Henry claimed the best figures by a New Zealand bowler at home in his first Test match for eight months against South Africa in February. Recalled into the Test side with Trent Boult away on paternity leave, Henry blew South Africa away with seven wickets in 15 overs.

He found seam movement off the pitch to enticed the South Africa batters to play at balls nipping away, and six of his seven caught behind the wicket. He took got rid of Kyle Verreynne, Kagiso Rabada and Glenton Stuurman in the same over to bowl out South Africa for 95 on day one.

Henry’s figures were the third-best ever for a New Zealand bowler in men’s Tests, New Zealand’s best against South Africa, and the best for anyone in 2022.

No.2: Pat Cummins

24-8-56-5 v Pakistan
March 2022

The Australian captain took his first five-wicket haul in Asia to inspire a monumental collapse on day two of the third Test against Pakistan in March and set up a memorable victory. With Pakistan looking set for a first innings lead on 214-2, Cummins and Mitchell Starc tore through the batting lineup as Pakistan lost seven wickets for 20 runs, completely turning the match situation on its head.

He started the collapse with a superb catch of his own bowling to dismiss Ahar Ali for 78, grabbing onto the ball with one hand, off balance at knee height in his follow-through. With the ball starting to reverse sharply, he went on to mop up the tails with some searing fast-bowling in the fading light in Lahore. In a series which had been a batter’s paradise, Cummins produced the goods with a scintillating spell to remind us of his brilliance.

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