7th February 1999: When Anil Kumble scored a perfect 10 against Pakistan
Anil Kumble is regarded as one of the greatest spinners in history of the game and on this day 20 years ago, the legendary India leggie picked up 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan to script history as the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi.
Kumble’s astonishing figures read 74/10 and he joined former England cricketer Jim Laker as the only bowlers to have taken ten wickets in an innings of a Test.
India were down 1-0 in the two match series against their arch-rivals and needed big performances from their star players and that is what Jumbo provided on the fourth day of the Test.
Batting first, India were skittled out for just 252 with skipper Mohammad Azharuddin and opener Sadagopan Ramesh hitting respective half-centuries. Spinner Saqlain Mushtaq was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers as he ended with outstanding figures of 5/94.
Indian tweakers then took centre stage as they bundled out the visitors for 172, taking a healthy first innings lead. Kumble and Harbhajan Singh scalped four and three wickets respectively to break the backbone of the Pakistan batting line-up.
Opener Ramesh continued his good form and struck his second half-century of the Test to lead India’s charge. Sourav Ganguly chipped in with a handy 62 to propel India’s score to 339 in the second essay.
Chasing 420 to win, Pakistan started off on the front foot with Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi putting on a century stand for the first wicket. But that is when things changed drastically for the visitors as Kumble broke the partnership by getting rid of Afridi.
Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-Ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf and Moin followed suit as Pakistan were four down in the next five overs. Moin Khan and Saeed Anwar too fell in quick succession as Kumble was making merry on the spin-friendly wicket at Kotla.
Saleem Malik and Wasim Akram tried to steady the ship and were even successful for a brief period as they put on a half-century stand. But Kumble was having none of it and he ended Malik’s stay to expose the tail. Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq were dismissed off successive deliveries as Pakistan were nine down for 198.
As Kumble was only a wicket away from claiming the historic feat, pacer Javagal Srinath started bowling way outside off stump in an attempt to ensure the spinner wasn’t denied the chance of claiming a ten-for. Akram became the prized scalp for the India spinner as the southpaw edge the ball into the hands of VVS Laxman at forward short leg and the historic feat was achieved in front of the packed house in the capital.