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21 years on: Revisiting Anil Kumble’s ‘perfect 10’ vs Pakistan at Feroz Shah Kotla

Prime Sports, National, New Delhi, February 7:- 21 years back on this very day, Anil Kumble became only the second bowler after England’s Jim Laker to claim all 10 wickets in an innings. Kumble’s 10/74 in 26.3 overs led India to their biggest Test victory against Pakistan, a remarkable 212-run win to level the iconic series 1-1.

India had lost the first Test of the two-match series at Chennai by a slim margin of 12 runs and the hosts were in a must-win situation before the Delhi Test in 1999 with the Kargil war adding to the sporting drama.

Indian bowlers bowled exceptionally well to bundle out Pakistan for 172 after posting 252 in the first innings. Leading on, the hosts rode on gritty half-centuries from Sadgopan Ramesh (96) and Sourav Ganguly (62*) to post a target for 420 for the visitors.

Chasing 420 with almost two days to spare, Pakistan got off to a decent start with Shahid Afridi and Saeed Anwar. Anwar and Afridi cut loose and the packed Feroz Shah Kotla was silenced as the visitors had raced away to 101/0 at lunch.

Indian wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia took a sharp catch to dismiss Shahid Afridi and the formidable Pakistan batting line-up crumbled. Ijaz Ahmed and Mohammad Yousuf had no answers to Kumble’s flipper and were caught leg-before; Inzamam-ul-Haq chopped on and Saleem Malik bamboozled.

“A ‘Perfect Ten’ isn’t something you set out to achieve as a cricketer. I would attribute the events of 7th February 1999 to destiny,” Kumble had told the BCCI website in 2014.

“When I picked up my six wickets, I came back after the tea break – as I had bowled continuously from lunch to tea. At the break, I sat down and thought to myself, here is a chance for me to better my previous best in Test, which was a seven-wicket haul. I went out again and then I took seven, and then eight and nine happened in two deliveries. That is when perhaps when it dawned on me and more on my teammates that I have the chance to pick up all 10,” Kumble told India Today.

When Kumble was asked, in a later interview, how he celebrates the day when it comes around every year and if he thinks anyone can match the feat in the future, he said: “It’s one of those things which happen. It’s nice to celebrate anniversaries of cricketing milestones but if it happens it happens.”

Kumble announced his retirement from international cricket in 2008 and finished with 619 wickets in the longest format of the game. He has the third-highest number of wickets in Tests, only behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Australia’s Shane Warne (708). (MR, Inputs: Agencies)

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