Cricket action in 2018 came to an end when India beat Australia by 137 runs in the third Test match to take a 2-1 lead. This week also saw two more Test matches starting on Boxing Day at traditional venues in South Africa and New Zealand. The hosts came out on top against Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively.
2018 saw plenty of mouth-watering clashes between the top teams and the cricket world also welcomed two new entrants into Test cricket. Afghanistan and Ireland made their much awaited Tests debuts, albeit in losing cause to India and Pakistan respectively.
It was also a dark year for Australian cricket as they were hit by plenty of controversies off the field and consequently had one of their worst years in history.
In this segment, let us take a look at the top five wicket-takers in Tests in 2018.
#5 Mohammed Shami - 47 wickets in 12 matches
Mohammed Shami is known for bowling probing line and lengths to the batsman. He is one of the most hardworking yet unlucky bowlers in the game today. He is a sort of bowler who can surprise the batsman with his speed.
Though he had a controversial time as of late with his personal problems, Shami made sure that he gave his best for India when needed the most. He also surpassed 100 wickets in overseas conditions.
Started primarily as a limited overs specialist for India, Shami soon became a mainstay in Tests and formed one of the most potent bowling attacks in the history of Indian Cricket along with Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
In 2018, Shami has taken 47 wickets in 12 matches at an impressive average of 26.97.
#4 Jasprit Bumrah - 48 wickets in 9 matches
Jasprit Bumrah is having the time of his life. Having started his career for India in 2016, he had to wait two years for his Test debut which he got in South Africa early this year.
Bumrah immediately made his presence felt there with impressive performances in the African nation and soon became a regular fixture for India across all the formats. His awkward bowling action made batsmen's lives tougher on seam-friendly pitches.
Even though India lost the Test series in both England and South Africa, Bumrah performed consistently in a format which many believed he was not suited. But his moment of reckoning may have occurred in ongoing series against Australia which might propel him to greatness in Test cricket.
Bumrah picked 48 wickets in 9 matches at an outstanding average of 21.02 in 2018.
#3 Nathan Lyon - 49 wickets in 10 matches
Nathan Lyon is the most successful off-spinner in Australian cricket history. For someone who started as a curator to become what he is today has been a phenomenal story. He continued to impress in 2018.
In 2018, Lyon ended up as the leading wicket-taker for Australia in Tests. The manner in which he achieved the feat shows his consistent rise in recent times. When he first arrived on the Test stage in the early part of this decade, he was not as consistent as he is now.
With 82 Tests to his name, Lyon is the most experienced player in the current Australian Test side. In what was a difficult year for his team, the off-spinner showcased his ability all across the globe.
In the calendar year, Lyon picked 49 wickets from ten matches at an average of 34.02.
#2 Dilruwan Perera - 50 wickets from 11 matches
One of the positives for Sri Lanka from an otherwise disappointing year in 2018 has to be Dilruwan Perera. He has played second fiddle to Rangana Herath ever since his Test debut in 2013.
After Herath's retirement, Perera has taken over the mantle of being his side's lead spinner and looks like doing a pretty good job with the ball.
While Sri Lanka struggled as a team this year, Dilruwan has been their stalwart with the ball in Tests. The 36-year-old off-spinner became only the fourth Sri Lankan bowler to the landmark of 150 wickets in Test cricket.
In 2018, Dilruwan claimed 50 wickets from 11 matches at an average of 29.32.
#1 Kagiso Rabada - 52 wickets in 10 matches
The world's best bowler at present is also the leading wicket-taker in Tests this year. Kagiso Rabada formed a lethal combination with Vernon Philander. The 23-year old bore the brunt of responsibility on his shoulders especially after the retirement of Morne Morkel and the absence of Dale Steyn for the large part of the year.
This meant that Rabada had to be their pace spearhead at a very young age but that didn't make him bog down to pressure. He was a shining light in South Africa's performances in Tests in 2018.
Rabada has grown to become a lethal bowler in all the conditions across all the formats of the game. In 2018, he finished with a staggering 52 wickets from 10 Tests at an average of just 20.07.