After talking about the batting greatness of Justin Langer in the previous article we will now talk about a fast bowler who was revered across the world and one who was feared by all the batters that played against him. He was so iconic that after he retired he opened bowling Academies for all the aspiring young fast bowlers and a lot of the young great fast bowlers of the past 20 overs have gone to his academy and learned the art of fast bowling from the great himself.
He only played 70 test matches and in those matches he picked 335 test wickets which is almost 5 wickets per test match and that is absolutely staggering for any bowler to have and this is the reason that he used to get a lot of batters out. There are so many to choose from and yet we have to limit it to 5, it’s so unfair. Wish I had been born at the time to see him Live in action but YouTube is there now. So, let’s try and select 5 best bowling performances of the great Dennis Lillee
7/83 vs West Indies (1981)
This bowling performance by Dennis Lillee against arguably the greatest cricket team ever assembled is enough to tell all of us what a talent and what an icon he was in fast bowling. That West Indies batting line-up hac Garfield Sobers, Viv Richards, Desmond Haynes etc and for him to do this to them is absolutely amazing. These are the types of bowling performances that one feels Lucky that they paid for a ticket to go see live. This is also his best ever bowling performance in international cricket.
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5/34 vs Pakistan (1975)
This is the performance in the 1975 World Cup which was the first cricket World Cup that was played in the ODI format and Dennis Lillee was the star for Australia in that tournament. And one of his best ODI performances came against Pakistan in a match at that World Cup where he ripped through the batting line-up of Pakistan and did not allow the Pakistan team to get any score on the board. This also showed that he was not only a test match bowler but that he could bowl in any situation and in any format.
6/72 vs New Zealand (1977)
This performance by Dennis Lillee came against New Zealand in their own backyard and more importantly it came in the second innings of that test match in which he had already picked up 5 wickets in the first innings of the same test match so New Zealand were beaten by one bowler who took 11 wickets in the whole Test match. He bowled so well that New Zealand were not able to cross the 200 run mark and were bowled out for 175 only and Australia won the match easily by 10 wickets.
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6/66 be England (1972)
Even though this performance came in a losing cause that doesn’t mean this was any less of a bowling effort by the then young player Dennis Lillee who established himself in the world after this performance and after this his career just at went upwards. This was also in the second innings of England batting and the ball was swinging for him and Lillee took full advantage of it and completely smashed the England batting order and as we said that the best performances list for any Australian player is incomplete without any mention against an incredible performance against England.
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7/89 vs England (1981)
The second successive mention of England in this list shows that England were his favorite opposition to bowl at and the English batters had nightmares when they had to come up against their tormentor Dennis Lillee and this was in the later stages of his career when he was one of the absolute best in the world and this came in the first innings of this test match and this England team had Geoffrey Boycott, Mike Gattung, Ian Botham among others and yet he did this to them. This shows us that Dennis Lillee was in a league of his own and picking Wickets against England was like having your favorite meal at the same restaurant many times.
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