Which bowler holds the record for the most wickets in a single Test match?

The bowler who still holds the record for the most wickets in a single Test match is former Surrey right-arm off-break bowler James ‘Jim’ Laker. During the fourth Test of the Australia tour of England at Old Trafford, Manchester in July, 1956, Laker took nineteen of a possible twenty wickets to finish the match with figures of 68-27-90-19.

England, captained by Peter May, won the toss and elected to bat, compiling a total of 459 all out in the first innings. In reply, Australia managed just 84 all out, with only openers Colin McDonald (32) and Jim Burke (22) reaching double figures. The wickets of all bar Burke, who was caught by Colin Cowdrey off the bowling off Laker’s Surrey team-mate Tony Lock, fell to Laker. Indeed, Laker skittled out the last seven Australian batsmen for eight runs in 22 balls to finish the innings with figures of 16.4-4-37-9.

England enforced the follow-on and, in a rain-interrupted second innings, Australia reached 84-2 by the start of the final day. However, from 114-2, Australia collapsed to 205 all out, with Laker taking all ten wickets. Reflecting on his performance, Laker said later, ‘Odd as it may seem now, I did not even consider the possibility of taking all ten wickets. How could I when Tony [Lock] was fizzing the ball through against nine, ten and jack with venomous lift and spin?’ Take all ten wickets he did, though, recording scarcely believable second innings figures of 51.2-23-53-10 to give England victory in what will be forever known as ‘Laker’s Match’ by an innings and 170 runs.

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