Each and every Indian cricket fan will know what the date of 7th Feb, 1999 means in Indian cricket history. It was the day, when India’s premier leg spinner Anil Kumble became only the second man in Test history to take all ten wickets in an innings.
Kumble’s feat came against Pakistan in the second Test at Delhi of the famous 1999 Test series. India came into the second Test after losing the first Test at Chennai by a very low margin. Sachin Tendulkar’s valiant century went in vain as Saqlain Mushtaq’s 10 wicket haul surpassed his effort to win the match for Pakistan.
Come Delhi and Pakistan needed 420 runs to win the second Test and the series. However, the infamous Kotla pitch started to show its true colors and made playing Kumble hazardous to the health of Pakistani batsmen.
They started well with Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi taking apart the Indian quick bowlers and adding 101 runs for the opening wicket. But then Kumble happened to them and from 101/0, they slid to 128/6 in no time, as Kumble kept taking the wickets at regular intervals. After Kumble got Afridi caught behind by Mongia, he went through the Pakistani middle order like a hot knife goes through butter.
Ijaz Ahmed (0) , Inzamam (6), Mohd. Yousuf (0), Moin Khan (3) and Saleem Malik (15) proved to be sitting ducks for Kumble, who bowled magnificently well, often using the flipper and yorker to good effect.
Pak skipper Wasim Akram resisted a bit, but when Anwar fell for 69, floodgates opened and Kumble picked up Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq in two balls. With last man Waqar Younis walking out, Indian captain Mohd Azharuddin instructed Javagal Srinath to bowl wide and not pick up wickets to give Kumble the chance for an all ten. Srinath managed to do that, often giving away wides as a result.
During all this commotion, S Ramesh went for a high catch and was scolded by Srinath and every other fielder, as no one wanted him to catch that ball.
Finally, Kumble came on to ball and had Wasim Akram caught bat-pad to Laxman to finish the Pakistani innings and picking up 10/74 and giving India the win by 212 runs.
England off-spinner Jim Laker was the first bowler in Test history to pick up all 10 wickets in an innings, a feat he achieved against Australia in the 4th Test at Manchester in the 1956 Ashes series.