21 years ago on February 7, 1999, former Indian spinner Anil Kumble etched his name in history books by claiming all 10 wickets in an innings. With the effort, he became only the second bowler after England’s Jim Laker to achieve the milestone. Kumble did so at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi in an all-important series-deciding Test match against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Amidst the political tensions between the two nations, Pakistan toured India for a short Test series. India lost the first Test of that series by a slim margin of 12 runs. The two teams then travelled to Delhi for a series-decider where India gained a handy 80-run first-innings lead. The home side then scored 339 in their second attempt to pose a target of 420 for the visitors.
Pakistani openers Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi started their chase confidently. The duo put on a 101-run stand for the first wicket before Anil Kumble sent Afridi packing back to the pavilion. The first wicket was immediately followed by another as Ijaz Ahmed was trapped in front of stumps off his very first ball. Wickets tumbled thereafter as 101-0 soon became 128-6.
Anil Kumble then wrapped up the tail to end Pakistan’s innings at 207. India’s 212-run win levelled the two-match series 1-1. ‘Player of the Match’ Kumble himself took figures of 26.3-9-74-10. He finished the game with a 14-wicket match haul.
While speaking to a leading Indian daily, the Indian spinner was asked to give his take on his record bowling spell. The leg-spinner said that his ‘Perfect 10’ was not something he set out to achieve as a cricketer. Instead, he attributed his achievement to destiny.