Anil Kumble's perfect ten -- a day that echoes through cricketing eternity.
In the annals of cricketing history, some moments transcend the boundaries of time, etching themselves permanently into the collective memory of fans worldwide. On this day, back in 1999, Anil Kumble etched his name into that illustrious list, producing a remarkable performance that has endured the test of time. A day when the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi witnessed magic in the form of Anil Kumble's perfect 10-wicket haul against Pakistan.
The stage was set for a historic clash during the Pakistan tour of India, and little did the spectators know that they were about to witness a cricketing spectacle that would become legendary. As the sun kissed the Delhi skies on February 7, 1999, cricket fans were treated to a display of skill and mastery that would resonate through the corridors of time.
The atmosphere at Feroz Shah Kotla was charged with anticipation as India, led by captain Mohammad Azharuddin, faced arch-rivals Pakistan in a must-win encounter. Having lost the first Test in Chennai, India was under intense scrutiny. The toss went in favour of Azharuddin, who chose to bat.
Sadagoppan Ramesh and Azharuddin laid the foundation for India's innings with fifty-plus scores, posting 252. However, the bowling prowess of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh dismantled Pakistan in their first innings, restricting them to a mere 172 runs.
As the second inning unfolded, India set a daunting target of 420 runs for Pakistan. Sadagoppan Ramesh's gritty 96 and Sourav Ganguly's valuable 62* contributed significantly to India's total of 339. The onus was now on the Indian bowlers to defend their lead.
With Pakistan needing 420 runs for victory, their openers, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Anwar, provided a promising start, putting on 101 for the first wicket. However, destiny had other plans, taking the form of Anil Kumble.
Kumble's spell on that fateful day was nothing short of magical. He dismantled the Pakistan batting lineup with surgical precision, claiming all ten wickets in a stunning display of skill and determination. The sequence of dismissals unfolded like a cricketing symphony: Afridi, Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, and Moin Khan all fell victim to Kumble's wizardry.
As the wickets tumbled, the Feroz Shah Kotla crowd erupted in jubilation. Saeed Anwar, the highest scorer for Pakistan with 69 runs, was also claimed by Kumble, marking his sixth wicket in the innings. The visitors could only muster 207 runs in their pursuit of 420, succumbing to the brilliance of Kumble's historic 10/74.
Anil Kumble's perfect ten became a defining moment in Indian cricket. His remarkable feat mirrored Jim Laker's achievement in 1956, and Kumble stood as only the second bowler in history to claim all ten wickets in a Test inning. The victory by 212 runs against arch-rival Pakistan added a layer of sweetness to this historic chapter.
Fast forward to December 2021, and this elite club has added a new chapter. New Zealand's Ajaz Patel emulated Kumble's feat, joining the exclusive ranks of bowlers with a perfect 10-wicket haul in a Test inning. However, Anil Kumble's name remains synonymous with this extraordinary achievement that unfolded on a sunlit day in Delhi, reminding cricket enthusiasts that some moments are immortal.
As we reminisce about that magical day in 1999, cricket aficionados pay homage to Anil Kumble, a maestro who crafted a symphony of perfection on the cricket field, leaving an indelible mark on the sport's history.