Now, I have tended to argue that McGrath is the best of his era and I don't think many people would have a problem with that. However, from my own memories of the 90s, I used to think the most devastating and dangerous bowler was Allan Donald. While McGrath was likened to a metronome, Donald was fire and brimstone. For me, Donald had everything to be the best and lately I have been looking at his record, comparing it with other bowlers, and find it troublesome how underrated he is. I looked at both his record and McGrath's, home and away, and I think it shows the disservice he has endured with regards to comparisons. I have separated their stats into home and away.
Donald - Home:
McGrath - Home:
When comparing both at home, Donald has been castigated for his under-par record against the Australians, yet McGrath has an equally bad record against S.Africa. I find this misconception a perpetration of facts; that McGrath simply succeeded everywhere. Not only that, but McGrath also has another glaring record against New Zealand which is just as bad as his S.Africa figures. Other than that, they've both pretty much been superlative everywhere; while Donald, probably, a tad better. And before someone brings it up; yes, I am disregarding Donald's 1 test against Zimbabwe which I treat as an aberration.
Donald - Away:
McGrath - Away:
Donald also seems to have a better record away. The only blip are his two tests against Pakistan, which really is not a big enough sample IMO, yet still better than McGrath's record against Pakistan - who also isn't too hot against Sri Lanka but one could also make the sample-argument for him there too. Again, both superlative everywhere with Donald a tad better than McGrath overall.
So, just a short analysis, nothing in-depth but I just thought I'd raise the question and have people look over it again. IMO, Donald's record is more complete than McGrath's overall - and while comparable, I'd say Australia were harder to face than S.Africa (in terms of Donald v Australia and McGrath v S.Africa). Not only in a home and away basis, but overall having a better combined strike-rate and average.
In pondering why McGrath is almost automatically deemed better than Donald, I would say a lot of it has to do with longevity. People marvel that McGrath bowled for so long, kept such a high standard, especially as pitches flattened out. I think that has to do with their type of bowling, but I really don't have much doubt about Donald also succeeding had half of his career been in the 00's. I am not sure about others; hence the thread. Or maybe there are other considerations?