Paceman Harris set to emulate Aussie legends

JOE BARTON
Last updated 08:19 08/01/2014

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Ryan Harris is in line to become the quickest Australian paceman to 100 Test wickets since Jeff Thomson more than 40 years ago.

Harris finished the Ashes whitewash with 22 wickets at 19.3 - taking his career tally to 93 scalps from his 21 Tests.

Not since Thomson and Dennis Lillee in the 1970s has an Australian quick reached the milestone in 22 Tests or less.

Harris could achieve the feat if in his next Test he produces his man-of-the-match-winning efforts at the SCG, where he claimed match figures of 8-61.

It highlights the importance of the late-blooming Harris, who didn't make his Test debut until he was 29 and has fought an ongoing battle with a degenerative knee complaint ever since.

Now 34, Harris has played nine straight Tests - a remarkable feat considering he'd never topped three consecutive Tests before last winter.

"To watch him get through nine in a row, I don't think he's ever got through nine games in a row," fast-bowling ally Peter Siddle said.

"To see him do that and push through and bowl the way he has is tremendous.

"He's just a great bloke to play alongside."

Even if Harris is able to claim seven wickets in the first Test of next month's South Africa tour, to be played at Centurion, he still won't have bettered the record of Proteas' spearhead Dale Steyn.

Steyn, regarded as the world's premier quick despite being bumped from top spot on the ICC bowling rankings by teammate Vernon Philander, reached the mark in 20 Tests.

"I'm not comparing myself to anyone," he said.

"I saw (Steyn's) figures ... 350 wickets in 69 Tests.

"That's just ridiculous. I go out and bowl, that's my job.

"Hopefully I get as many wickets as I can."

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