Sri Lanka spinner Prabath Jayasuriya, the man who dominated Australia on Test debut nine months ago, has become the fastest tweaker to 50 wickets in men’s Test history.
With the wicket of Ireland’s Paul Stirling, caught by Kusal Mendis on the fifth day in Galle, Jayasuriya claimed his seventh wicket of the match and 50th overall, reaching the milestone in his seventh Test, having bowled in 13 innings.
In both instances, it’s a record for a Test spinner, surpassing the mark set by West Indian Alf Valentine 72 years ago, who took eight Tests and 15 innings.
Holding the overall record is 19th-century Aussie pace bowler Charlie Turner, who reached 50 wickets in his sixth Test having bowled in only 10 innings.
However, for cricketers active this side of 1900, only South African quick Vernon Philander can match Jayasuriya’s stunning feat (he also registered his 50th Test wicket in his seventh Test and 13th innings).
Jayasuriya made his debut as a 30-year-old in the second Test against Australia last July.
Brought into the side only due to Praveen Jayawickrama’s Covid-19 diagnosis, Jayasuriya played a match-winning role as Sri Lanka squared the series.
The left-arm spinner claimed 12-177 for the match, the fourth-best figures by a debutant in Test history, bamboozling the tourists to complete a famous win for the Lankans.
Perhaps due to nerves or perhaps due to the supreme skill of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, Jayasuriya’s first 12.4 overs went wicketless and cost him 56 runs.
But his maiden wicket, that of Labuschagne stumped for 104, proved a turning point from which Jayasuriya would not look back.
The 17 wickets in two matches against Pakistan in the series that immediately followed proved his first game was no fluke.
A big gap in Sri Lanka’s Test schedule meant he’d have to wait almost eight months until his next match, a two-Test series in New Zealand, which netted the spinner four wickets.
But the arrival of Ireland to the shores of Sri Lanka was a blessing for the veteran tweaker, earning player-of-the-match honours with 7-52 and 3-56 in the first Test and another five-wicket haul in the first innings of the second.
Fewest matches to 50 Test wickets
6 – Charlie Turner (Australia), 1888
7 – Prabath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka), 2023
7 – Vernon Philander (South Africa, 2012
7 – Tom Richardson (England), 1896
8 – Fred Spofforth (Australia), 1883
8 – Alf Valentine (West Indies), 1951
8 – Rodney Hogg (Australia), 1979
8 – Terry Alderman (Australia), 1981
News Source: https://www.cricket.com.au/news/prabath-jayasuriya-world-record-fastest-to-50-test-wickets-fewest-matches-spinner-sri-lanka/2023-04-28