Sport

McGrath passes Lillee milestone

Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist and captain Ricky Ponting appeal for the wicket of Stephen Fleming. Getty Images
Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist and captain Ricky Ponting appeal for the wicket of Stephen Fleming. Getty Images

By JIM MORTON of AAP

A "BORING" Glenn McGrath denied he could be rated better than Dennis Lillee after eclipsing his unofficial international wicket tally yesterday to put Australia on the verge of a Trans-Tasman whitewash.

McGrath said he could never match Lillee for his aura and aggression after taking his 459th Test wicket yesterday to pass the legendary quick's total of Test and unofficial international scalps.

McGrath grabbed 4-66 and sparked a New Zealand middle-order collapse to see the tourists bundled out for a 251 in the Second Test on a benign Adelaide Oval pitch.

The meagre total on day three left the Black Caps 324 runs in arrears of Australia's first-innings score of 8(dec)-575.

By stumps, the world champions ? who opted against enforcing the follow-on ? had extended their lead to 381 with openers Matthew Hayden (21) and Justin Langer (31) sharing an unbroken 57-run stand.

On passing Lillee's Test wicket-taking tally of 355 in the final Test of the 2001 Ashes tour, McGrath felt he couldn't be compared to the tearaway West Australian. He said Lillee's career haul didn't include the wickets he captured in World Series Super Test and World XI matches.

Lillee took 79 Super Test scalps, when the game was split by Kerry Packer's World Series takeover, and 24 World XI wickets from a memorable 1971-72 series.

McGrath equalled Lillee's 458-wicket mark when he delivered the pivotal blow on the third day by having New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming caught behind for 83.

It sparked a 5-60 collapse that has Australia on the way to a 2-0 series win.

"Even for people to class me alongside (Lillee) is a huge wrap but I would never say I was equal to him," said McGrath, Test cricket's fourth highest wicket-taker.

"It's interesting to know stats like that. That's why I think when you look at Dennis' record it shouldn't be 355 wickets but (458) wickets. Personally I would like to see that." McGrath felt Lillee's wild colonial boy charisma made him the premier Australian fast bowler.

"I think he's the fast bowler's fast bowler," he said.


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