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When Anil Kumble took all 10 wickets to rewrite cricket history

On February 7th in 1999, India's legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble became just the second player to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings and in the process wrote his name into the annals of cricket folklore and history.

Kumble emulated Englishman Jim Laker's feat against Australia 43 years ago, finishing with 10-74 from 26.3 overs against Pakistan. The feat was made all the more special since it was against arch-rivlas Pakistan, and that too the Test series was the first on Indian soil between the two teams in 12 years.

Kumble's brilliance saw India crush Pakistan by 212 runs in the second Test in New Delhi and square the short two-match series.

Anil KumbleIn this picture taken on February 5, 1999, Anil Kumble (left) celebrates with wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia and fielder Sadagopan Ramesh (right) after the dismissal of unseen Pakistani batsman Inzamam ul-Haq during the second day of the second Test match at The Feroz Shah Kotla Cricket Stadium in New Delhi. Pic/AFP

The 28-year-old computer engineer proved unplayable on the dusty Ferozeshah Kotla track as Pakistan, chasing a mammoth target of 420, were shot out for 207 an hour after tea on the fourth day.

"It's a dream, an honour to get all 10," Kumble said after being named man of the match by referee Cammie Smith of the West Indies.

"I knew I had to bowl straight to be successful on this wicket. I kept a good line and it all worked out in the end," he said.

In his moment of glory, the modest bowler paid handsome tribute to his teenage spinning partner, Harbhajan Singh, and seamers Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad.

"I don't think I would have got there without their support," Kumble said. "It was a great team effort, but the best thing is that India won the match to level the series."

Pakistan, who won the first Test in Chennai by 12 runs, had some consolation when off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq was named man of the series for his five-wicket hauls in all four innings of the series.

Kumble, however, finished one up on Saqlain with 21 wickets from two games -- seven wickets at Chennai and 14 in this Test.

The odds were heavily stacked against Pakistan when they began their second innings.

A 400-plus chase had been achieved only twice before in history -- by Don Bradman's Australians against England in 1948 and Bishen Bedi's India against the West Indies in 1976.

But openers Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi gave the tourists a glimmer of hope when they smashed 101 for the first wicket in 98 minutes.

Kumble, however, swung the match India's way as Pakistan lost six top order batemen for the addition of 27 runs.

The rout began with a contentious decision by debutant Indian umpire. Jayaprakash, who ruled Afridi caught behind by wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia when the ball appeared to have missed the bat.

Although by failing to dismiss Pakistan's Waqar Younis in either innings, he missed out on the achievement of dismissing all eleven batsmen in a Test match.

Anil KumbleAnil Kumble getting ready to bowl on the fourth day of the second Test match at The Feroz Shah Kotla Cricket Stadium in New Delhi.  

It has been said that once he had got nine wickets his friend and teammate Javagal Srinath started bowling wide outside the off stump, so that Kumble could take the 10th.

The performance was rated by Wisden as the second best "Bowling performance of all time".

The achievement was commemorated by naming a traffic circle in Bengaluru after him, and gifting him a car with the customised license plate: KA-10-N-10.

In 1999, Kumble was the third highest wicket taker with 88 wickets at the average of 30.03 behind Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

An angry Afridi, who made 41, stood his ground for a while before walking off slowly cursing under his breath.

Kumble's next delivery rapped Ijaz Ahmed on the full and Jayaprakash, a former first-class cricketer, once again raised his finger.

Fired up by the twin success, Kumble took two more wickets in another over when Inzamam-ul Haq edged a top spinner on to his stumps and Yousuf Youhanna was given out leg-before.

Moin Khan edged a Kumble snorter to the slips where Saurav Ganguly dived to his right to pick up a low catch.

Left-hander Anwar, who scored just 32 in his previous three innings, found timely form with a defiant 69 but failed to keep down a Kumble delivery and was snapped up in the leg trap.

Pakistan, 128-6 at that stage, were saved from a humiliating collapse by a seventh wicket stand of 58 between Salim Malik and skipper Wasim Akram.

The unplayable Kumble, however, hastened the end by bowling Malik for 15. He then trapped Saqlain leg before first ball and gave India victory by having Akram caught in the leg-trap for 37.

Earlier, India added just 15 runs to their overnight score of 324-7 before being all out for 339 within the first 20 minutes of play.

Saqlain took the last three wickets to claim his fourth five-wicket haul in as many innings in the current series.

ICC celebrates the feat

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