Reliving Anil Kumble’s Ten Wicket Haul at Feroz Shah Kotla
“It was a close game in Chennai [the first Test; India lost by 12 runs]. Everybody was disappointed. But once we reached Delhi, we were pretty confident of coming back and ensuring we levelled the series. We knew we had not lost a series for a long time.” This was what Anil Kumble said before the match at Feroze Shah Kotla.
The match in Kotla was a long drawn affair. India had put up a daunting 420, to Pakistan to chase down. Sourav Ganguly and Sadagoppan Ramesh had put India on the pedestal and all India needed to put the cat in the bag, was a proper attack from the bowling department.
Jumbo as Kumble is affectionately known had toiled six overs without taking a wicket in the early overs of the 4th innings. Pakistan had little hope of winning,but needed only a draw to take the series, and had seemed well placed at 101 without loss.
After lunch it seemed as if a new breeze had started to blow. The Indian fielders seemed rejuvenated and calm. The birds atop the stands started chirping as if trying to signal the change. And then Kumble started from the pavilion-end revitalised and determined to make a dent in the Pakistani line up. His aim perhaps not to equal himself with the legendary Jim Laker, but was just to somehow make up for the debacle at Chennai. India through its television sets looked on anxiously at the leg spinner.
His honest sweat first brought to heel Shahid Afridi, who was adjudged as caught behind. A debatable decision it was and Afridi showed no hesitation at displaying it. Then came the turn of the wily but experienced Ijaz Ahmed, who didn’t bother the scoreboard at all. 15 runs further into the Pakistani innings, Inzamam-ul-Haq fell along with his bail to a stunning Kumble delivery and next in line was Yousuf Youhana who also ‘ducked’ from Kumble’s pressure.
115 for 4 saw India in the driver’s seat with Kumble leading from the front. Moin Khan hung around for some time before he also miscued a delivery and gave a catch to Ganguly. Following Khan’s departure Saeed Anwar also gave up his resistance and was caught out by Laxman.
Pakistan’s recovery was brought about by Salim Malik and WasimAkram. The duo put on 50 runs for the 7th wicket forcing Indian skipper Azharuddin to bring back Kumble. Kumble was quick to bring success as his delivery uprooted Malik’s stumps. With the partnership broken, Pakistan seemed doomed.
Azhar gave Kumble a free hand, as his deliveries produced wickets in quick succession. The final tail wicket of WasimAkram fell with Pakistan’s defeat at 207. Kumble appropriately determined to attack Akram as he refused singles which would bring the batting handicapped Waqar. Akram played at leg spinning Kumble delivery and the inside edge travelled fast to short leg. Laxman swivelled around to his left and clutched it.
India had triumphed by 212 runs. And Kumble had entered the record books with 10 for 74. Indian fans celebrated with unconfined joy which characteristically went somewhat overboard.Even as an army of security personnel fought to control the hysterical crowd, Kumble’s shirt was grabbed and torn by fans clamouring to reach out and touch their hero.
However, one can wager that Kumble did not mind a torn garment or two. That magnificent soldier of Indian cricket got appropriate reward for everything he did on that glorious day. He fully deserved it.
Here is the video of Kumble’s Magnificent Ten at Kotla
Anil Kumble also features in our list of the Top Ten Bowlers in Test Cricket History. Read here
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