Sunday 1 April 2007 

Seam Master Overtakes Swing Magician

Glenn McGrath, the master of seam bowling, surpassed the magician of swing on Saturday as the leading wicket taker in the history of the World Cup.

The 37-year-old Australian equalled and then overtook Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram's record of 55 in the Super Eights match against Bangladesh at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Bowling into a stiff breeze and given the new ball for the first time in the tournament, McGrath took three for 16 from five overs in a rain-shortened 22 overs match.

Australia won the match by 10 wickets and McGrath now has 57 World Cup victims with a maximum six matches to play before he retires.

"Wasim Akram to me is one of the greatest bowlers of all time, a left-armer swinging both ways with the new ball," McGrath told a news conference.

"He was so dangerous with the old ball. To go past him is something special, probably the other side of the coin is if you play long enough you are going to break records here and there."

McGrath benefited from the Bangladesh batsmen's decision to try to attack one of the most accurate bowlers to play the game.

It was a tactic that baffled Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore.

"He's got the best economy rate, the boys knew that but they still wanted to hit him, that is the frustrating part," he said.

McGrath said the Bangladesh batsmen had few other options.

"I guess they were always going to do that. There were only nine overs of power play, they had to come quite hard at us.

"I just tried to get a good rhythm early on and just mix the pace up. Luckily enough for me I got a few wickets as well.

"You are out there, you try to treat it as another game. I just tried to adjust to the conditions myself, to be prepared when blokes come down the wicket and adjust accordingly.

"Luckily for me I got enough in the right areas and the guys hung on to the catches."

McGrath, who will retire from all cricket after the World Cup final in Barbados on April 28, has taken more than 360 one-day wickets for his country and has the best World Cup analysis of seven for 15 against Namibia.

His pinpoint accuracy and forensic ability to detect any weaknesses in his opponents' armoury have made him an integral member of the Australia side for more than a decade.

By John Mehaffey
© Reuters 2007.

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