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Kumble’s 10-fer: When Honest Sweat Spins The Kotla Magic

Other than Anil Kumble, only Jim Laker and Ajaz Patel had taken 10-wickets in an innings of a Test match.

In a team game, everyone’s contribution is so much essential to the ultimate fate of the match. Just like Football, Kabadi or any other sports, Cricket always teaches us that one man army can never always be sufficient for a positive ending. But, odd things occur once in a while; history isn’t get repeated like sunrise or sunset.

In the romantic fruitful Indian history, there are so many records that the future generations can dream of breaking. But, some records can never be broken; at best can only be touched. Today, myself, Subhradeep Choudhury, will revisit the 22nd anniversary of Anil Kumble’s honest sweat that spins the Kotla magic and is still waving into the autonomic nerves of the blood vessels.

How the Game shaped up:

The beginning of 1999 historic series was too sweet to digest for the Indians. A narrow margin heartbreak on the dusty Chennai pitch and that too against arch rivals Pakistan after getting their noses in front for most of the time was making pain in the annals of the players and the fans. 

India winning the toss opted to bat field on the best part of the 22-yard. Half centuries from Sourav Ganguly and opener Sadagoppan Ramesh with some assistance from Dravid & Laxman helped the home side posting 252, on a track where first innings total could be vital going deep into the game.

Pakistani batsmen never look comfortable on the pitch as they were bundled out for just 172runs, handing their neighbours a useful 80-run lead that could cost them the match later on. Merge on that extra runs, the Indians added 339runs into it, thanks to a fighting but sad end of 96 by Ramesh. His only helper in the first innings, Ganguly with another half-century (62*) and juicy 49 by Javagal Srinath reached the home side of setting the target of 420-runs in the 4th innings before Pakistan, who didn’t really favor chases in the pressure games where as this test was so important for the contest of the series.

Bad start for Anil Kumble:

So many time was left in the game for a fair result and honestly 420 had never been scored in the longest format of the game. The Indians were eagerly anticipating for a revenge of Chennai setback.

However, confident looking Pakistani openers Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi began their innings in a flamboyant swag style hitting the round shape material in all the places of the ground and decreasing the hope of what could be a glorified Indian victory. Yes, the pitch seemed to have lost its venom. At lunch, when the untroubled and unbroken partnership went for the break; whereas Kumble had the figure of 6-overs 0-27 bowling from the football stand end.

The break was about convicing yourself to keep trust and tried hard as much as possible from both the camps. Nevertheless, the visitors crossed 100 unwounded with receiving wholesale of praise from former players and commentators. But, still a little over 300 was the biggest aim going forward.

The third ball of the third over of Kumble after the break created a little sound in Afridi’s bat and an exciting appeal by the bolwer and wk Nayan Mongia just pushed umpire Jayaprakash to raise his important finger. Words exchanged and two persons of different thoughts claimed their truth but the judge had his decision already; God knows the reality and what we all knew was Pakistan had lost their first. You smell something??

The Story of Kumble’s all wickets:

A firing ball into the middle stump against new Ijaz Ahmed that hit him on the pads saw the finger raised again in the very next ball this time without any hesitation. Inzamam did survive the hat-trick delivery but couldn’t lust long. A played on to a short delivery saw him getting into the bus to the Pakistan dressing room. Yousuf Yuhana who later on went on to be known as Mohammad Yousuf, get stuck into his pads to another firing Kumble ball to follow the same route.

Moin Khan, promoted ahead of an injured Saleem Malik, did not stay long either. The man in good nick with bat in hand trying to push forward, edged and the slip coridon made no mistake. The lunch seemed to have come a decade ago. Pakistan slipped to 127-5 against Kumble.

Wickets were falling from one end, whereas Saeed Malik was batting with proper technique and a vision to travel long. But, rock Jambo stood in middle. A delivery in the rough outside the left-hander’s off stump was played well; however a slow follow-up leg-break hitting the pad, ballooned into the air and was grabbed by short leg fielder VVS Laxman. Though Malik was injured, he somehow with Wasim Akram ceased the wicket falling as players for some refreshment went back for tea.

The resumption of the game saw Malik not being comfortable in his movement or playing with proper technique because of the injury. And the disaster arrived soon. The short ball against him did not rise as he expected and it hit the top of the stumps to see a disappointed slow walk.

The second man after Jim Laker to Touch the Feat:

A while after, Mustaq ahmed after getting one into his shoulders was hit low on the pads in front to slip further. Pakistan were 9-down on 198 and Anil Kumble was standing on the brink of something extra-ordinary. Half a decade ago, when Kapil Dev targeted for a world record of Kiwi Richard Hadlee, Kumble had bowled wide after wide just to give his senior enough to achieve the feat. And Good things happen with Good people.

The Kumble role switched to Srinath. A top edge of Waquar Younis saw Ramesh went for the catch with full attention but thankfully, he failed to reach. “He was supposed to drop the catch, that was the plan.” Said Kumble in very very special stories hosted by Laxman. “I don’t think Ramesh heard the team plan, that’s how he is.”

Now then, Kumble bowled a normal leg-break. Akram played at it and an inside edge was caught by short-lag Laxman; Ind had taken their revenge but to make it more proud and a standing occasion, Kumble had entered to an panel with 10 for 74. 43yrs earlier, Jim Laker had reached the feat the Aussies in Manchester.

Perfect 10-fer for Kumble: 

The 25k crowd at Kotla after the final wicket chanted and danced with “Kumble” “Kumble” bursting off their mouth. The team carried their hero in thir arms to the pavilion. The security had to force into the act to control the mad crowd. That magical 2hrs and 22mins will flow in the nerves for immortal times of the Cricket fans across the globe. “A ‘Perfect Ten’ isn’t something you set out to achieve as a cricketer. I would attribute the events of 7th February to destiny.” Told the special man to the BCCI website in 2014.

Richard Stokes and the story o 10-fer: 

Pakistan’s collapse was something could happen as we had witnessed it then, now and don’t know about about the future. But one splendid incident did happen. Have you heard about lucky person? If no, then keep the name, Richards Stokes, in your mind. He is the only person to be present in both the iconic days of the game; whether in 1999 or in 1956.

It’s been 22yrs since than and no one still has grabbed the feat; we all hope to witness something like that in the future but 43yrs of gap easily indicates that these records don’t rise regularly.

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