Abu Dhabi: Pakistan’s leg-spinner Yasir Shah Thursday became the fastest cricketer to take 200 Test wickets, breaking an 82-year-old record on the fourth day of the third Test against New Zealand.
The 32-year-old trapped nightwatchman Will Somerville leg before for four — his second wicket of the New Zealand second innings — to reach the milestone in his 33rd Test, beating Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s record of 36 Tests achieved against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1936.
Yasir, whose 14 wickets helped Pakistan level the series 1-1 in Dubai, now has 27 wickets in the three Tests against New Zealand. His 14 for 184 were the second best match figures in a Test for Pakistan, behind former captain and current prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, who bagged 14 for 116 against Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1982.
New Zealand, resuming at 26 for 2 on Thursday, fell to 37 for 3 after Yasir removed Somerville and were still needing 37 runs to make Pakistan bat again. Yasir began the Abu Dhabi Test with 195 wickets in 32 Tests and on an opening day grabbed three early wickets but BJ Watling resisted with 77 not out, leaving him having to complete his landmark in the second innings.
Since taking seven wickets on debut against Australia in 2014, Yasir has been a key figure in Pakistan’s Test team.
He took 12 wickets in that 2-0 series win over Australia in United Arab Emirates in 2014 and followed that with 15 against New Zealand in a 1-1 draw the same year. That was followed by 24 wickets against Sri Lanka in 2015 and 10 in a match to beat England at Lord’s a year later. He took 21 and 25 wickets respectively in series wins over the West Indies.
Yasir was also the fastest Pakistani to 50 wickets (nine Tests), reached 100 wickets in 17 Tests — second only to Englishman George Lohmann who took 16 matches during a Test in Johannesburg in 1896.