Wisden’s ODI spells of the 2000s have been announced. Below is the full list from No.5 to No.1.
No.5: Shoaib Akhtar 5-25
Australia v Pakistan, 3rd ODI
The Gabba, Brisbane
June 19, 2002
At the turn of the 21st century, Shoaib Akhtar was probably the fastest bowler cricket had seen and has seen since. From January 1999 to the end of the 2003 World Cup, Akhtar took 128 ODI wickets at 20.36. He was simply devastating and in the first half of 2002, Akhtar reached his peak within a peak.
No.4: Waqar Younis 7-36
England v Pakistan, NatWest Series
June 17, 2001
Waqar’s seven-wicket masterclass craftily disassembled England after they were put in to bat on a sticky Headingley wicket, shrouded by cloud cover for the most part. It wasn’t all-out pace; nearing 30, and loosened up by his constant injury run-ins, he had devised ways to let swing do it for him.
No.3: Shane Bond 6-23
Australia v New Zealand, Super Six, 2003 World Cup
St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
March 11, 2003
Shane Bond was angry. The Port Elizabeth pitch looked dry to him, and it seemed that a consensus had formed: if Stephen Fleming won the toss, New Zealand would bat first before the wicket deteriorated for the Australian chase. Fleming called correctly, but something told him to go the other way. They would bowl first, and the decision did not go down well with Fleming’s leading bowler.
No.2: Ajantha Mendis 6-13
Before the final of the 2008 Asia Cup, India had faced Sri Lanka once before in the tournament, during a Super Four game, for which Ajantha Mendis was rested. There were suggestions that Mendis, then still a fresh entrant at international level, was being saved for the final, lest his mystery be unpeeled. If that was indeed the case, then it turned out to be a masterstroke, as Sri Lanka unleashed their enigma on the most important day of the tournament, and not a man in the opposition knew what to make of it.
No.1: Andy Bichel 7-20
Australia v England, 2003 World Cup
March 2, 2003
Had Jason Gillespie been fit, Andy Bichel wouldn’t even have played this game. He had featured in only two of Australia’s five 2003 World Cup games up until this point, rotated in for low-key clashes with Namibia and the Netherlands before being rotated out again just as quietly.