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McGrath to retire after World Cup

The decision means his final Test of the Ashes series against England, ending January 6, will be his last 5-day game.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2006 12:55 IST

Glenn McGrath, the most successful fast bowler in cricket history, will join his legspin counterpart Shane Warne as two Australian veterans will be playing their last Test matches over the next two weeks.

McGrath announced on Friday that he will retire after the World Cup limited-overs tournament ends in March of next year. The decision means McGrath's final Test of the Ashes series against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground ending January 6 will be his last five-day game.

Warne will also play his last Test at Sydney. His only cricket over the next two years will be with his English county side Hampshire.

"It's probably a perfect or fitting ending," McGrath said Friday. "It's only been the last few days that I've really thought about it."

The 36-year-old McGrath has taken 555 wickets at 21.65 in 122 Tests since making his debut against New Zealand in 1993. He is third on the list of all-time wicket-takers behind only Warne (699) and Sri Lankan offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan (674). The retirements of Warne, 37, and McGrath come less than 10 days after batsman Damien Martyn, 35, announced his retirement. McGrath spent most of 2006 out of international cricket to be with wife Jane in her battle against cancer.

McGrath dismissed West Indian star Brian Lara 15 times in Tests. He also had an outstanding record against opposition openers _ he dismissed England's Mike Atherton 19 times and the West Indies' Sherwin Campbell on 11 occasions.

Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said McGrath had achieved the rare distinction of being a consistent match winner in Test and one-day international cricket for 13 years. "They say bowlers win matches _ they must have been thinking of players like Glenn McGrath when they said that," Sutherland said. "His remorseless accuracy and forensic probing of the slightest weakness in a batsmans technique is legendary."