7th February 1999, Sunday
This was the rare time when India and Pakistan were playing Test cricket with each other. Only two months later, the Kargil war broke out and relations between the arch enemies became that of hate. This day in February though, is very special for the Indian fans as we witnessed a historical event.
Emulating one of the rarest feats in Test cricket, Anil Kumble became only the second bowler in history to take all ten wickets in an inning. Only the English off-spinner Jim Laker had done it before Kumble in 1956 against Australia.
The feat took place on the last day of a mini Test series that comprised of only two Tests. First Test at Chennai was a thrilling affair and Pakistan snatched a victory as the Indian tail faltered after a spectacular 136 from Sachin Tendulkar took them on the doorstep of victory.
The second Test at Delhi began on an auspicious note for India as it won the toss and chose to bat first. From a position of strength at 231/4, India nosedived and ended the innings at 252 all out. Pakistan struggled against the spinners in the first innings and conceded the lead. Kumble – Harbhajan took 7/105 in total.
The Indian’s reply, led by two lefties in Ramesh and Ganguly, took them to a total of 339, enough on a difficult surface. Pakistan needing 420 runs to win started in an aggressive manner with Afridi and Anwar blazing all guns.
It was then that the magic happened. Anil Kumble switched ends and now came on to bowl from the pavilion end. In his third over, he got an outside edge of Shahid Afridi which was caught by Nayan Mongia. With no DRS back then, Afridi walked back in disdain. Pakistan 101/1.
Ijaz Ahmed, the next man walking in, who Kumble had already identified as an early LBW candidate, could not cope with the pace of Kumble and was out leg before wicket on the first ball. Pakistan 101/2.
Inzamam much like in his running, forgot to move his feet and edged a delivery back on the stumps. Yusuf Yohanna, now known as Mohammad Yusuf padded up to the first ball he faced and was given LBW for that act. Pakistan 115/4.
Pakistani Keeper Moin Khan got a ball that kicked off the length and took the shoulder of his bat. Ganguly took a good forward catch at the first slip. Well set Saeed Anwar got caught out at the short leg and it was then that Kumble could sense the record feat. Pakistan 128/6.
Injured Saleem Malik came out to bat and played a gutsy inning. He got bowled off a short ball that stayed a little low. Rest of the tail had no answer to Kumble’s genius and they folded up easily. Pakistan 207/10.
India equaled the series with that win. Anil Kumble who till date is the most successful Indian bowler in Test cricket fixated the rarest jewel on his dazzling crown.
* Follow Omkar Mankame @Oam_16 on twitter