Dennis Lillee

Dennis Lillee redefined the art of fast bowling and set new standards of fitness, competitiveness and courage.

b. 18 July 1949 - Australia
Played cricket for Australia

A feared and celebrated bowler

Originally a tearaway fast bowler Lillee was a great showman who gained greater control and guile as his career progressed. His courage in overcoming stress fractures of the lower spine to become such a feared and celebrated bowler is a rich part of the lore of Australian sport. Boasting a glorious action he joined forces with Jeff Thomson to form a lethal partnership which devastated England and the West Indies in the mid-1970s.

Beloved by fans who loudly chanted his name he was an aggressive advocate of players' rights and an influential figure in the formation of the breakaway World Series Cricket movement. Headstrong and never far from controversy he returned to Test cricket in 1979 and when a knee injury forced his retirement in 1984 he was the leading wicket taker in Test matches with 355. He is currently the president of the Western Australian Cricket Association.

'His big side on-action with the sweatband, the way he used to wipe his finger across his forehead to flick of the sweat... he epitomized the fast bowler, aggressive, in your face, never back down, bowl all day attitude... he was my hero and still is.' Glenn McGrath
'I was lucky that I could take pain and punishment... I realised that I wasn't the most talented cricketer around but if I could bowl as much as I could then my chances of getting a wicket were much higher.' Dennis Lillee

The Stats

  • Tests
  • 70
  • Batting Stats
  • Aggregate: 905
  • Highest Score: 73*
  • Centuries: 0
  • Average: 13.71
  • Bowling Stats
  • Wickets: 355
  • Best bowling: 7/83
  • Runs: 8,493
  • Average: 23.92
  • ODI
  • 63
  • Batting Stats
  • Aggregate: 240
  • Highest Score: 42*
  • Centuries: 0
  • Average: 9.23
  • Bowling Stats
  • Wickets: 103
  • Best bowling: 5/34
  • Runs: 2,145
  • Average: 20.83

To have the character to come back from a career ending injury when many people had written him off, and become the greatest fast bowler of his time, Dennis Lillee will be forever remembered for triumphing against the odds. Time and time again he lifted himself and in so doing his team to win a match or break a long-standing batting partnership. In the television age his accelerating approach to the wicket followed by the high graceful delivery stride with the copybook follow through defines fast bowling athleticism and is indelibly imprinted on legions of cricket followers.

Did you know?

Only 18 bowlers have taken 350 wickets or more in Test cricket. Of these, Lillee has the highest proportion (more than 27%) caught by the wicketkeeper. 95 of his 97 victims "caught behind" were catches taken by Rodney Marsh (the other two by Roger Woolley). The 95 cases of "caught Marsh bowled Lillee" remains the record for dismissals by combinations.

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