105/5 (24.0 ov)
Pakistan started confidently and none of the Indian bowlers made an impression. During lunch, the Indians at 101 desperately desperate that they might actually lose the test.
In 1897, when American author Mark Twain learned from a « good authority » that he was dead, he sent a reply to a reporter for the New York Journal that read, « The account of my death was exaggerated. »
Test cricket, which took its first baby steps in ashes two decades before Mark Twain wrote these words, would spend the next 140 years spreading rumors of its own death.
It’s over Thanks all to the Ashes and two other matchups that the sad end so often predicted for Test Cricket did not come to pass. The first of the two is the intense 22-meter battle for the Border Gavaskar trophy that has blessed the sport for the past few decades. The other, India versus Pakistan – a rivalry that goes beyond sport and has its roots in politics and tragedy, dividing a great nation in two different halves.
It is the last time the cricket World had one of its most significant moments in the winter of 1998/99 when Pakistan visited India for the first time in 12 years to play a test series.
In the first test, which lived up to the hype before the tour, Pakistan beat India in Chennai by 12 runs. It remains one of the most evenly competitive test matches in history. Pakistan scored 238 in the first innings with Moin Khan his way to a brave 60 petting while Anil Kumble took six wickets. India answered with 254. The highlights were a top score of 54 from Sourav Ganguly and the five wickets from Saqlain Mushtaq.
In the second innings, Pakistan replied with 286 on the back of a great 141 from the Mercury Shahid Afridi. At 254 for six, India was on the cusp of a famous victory. At the crease was the ever reliable Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar battled significant back pain and then made a fateful decision – to get the remaining runs quickly to speed up the inevitable victory. Unfortunately, his attempt to score a third straight goal against Saqlain Mushtaq failed. A catch for Wasim Akram was the result.
With a win just 17 runs away, a billion fans sat with solid hearts in their hands on their televisions across the country and the Indian eyelashes were spectacularly unraveled. The final four wickets only added four runs before the innings coincided. Once again India had torn defeat from the jaws of victory.
Then the teams came to Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, where everything was to be played. A tie meant Pakistan would keep the trophy after winning the last series in 1987. For India nothing would be enough but victory. It was not just out of pride, but because the team knew that in Chennai they had missed their best chance of winning a Test against Pakistan in 20 years.
When Azharuddin won the throw, the decision to hit was light. An attack that consisted of Akram, Waqar and Saqlain in the fourth innings was an experience the team did not want to repeat.
Sadagoppan Ramesh and VVS Laxman, who opened the innings, raised the score to 88. Just as As smiles spread across Indian faces, a beautiful, swinging delivery from Akram found the gap between Laxman’s bat and pad. Ramesh fought for 60 points and Azharuddin joined him with 67 points. India was sacked for 252. Saqlain again took five wickets on a field where the ball was already low.
The start for the visitors was not optimal. Saeed Anwar fell upon a beautiful swinging shipment from Venkatesh Prasad that found the edge of his racket. Pakistan one on one. Afridi and Ijaz Ahmed raised the score to 54 before both falling to that score. Saleem Malik added 31 before the squad was fired for 172. Kumble had lifted four wickets and Harbhajan Singh threw in three. India had an 80 run lead.
Kumble would later say, « The pitch was a bit split and we knew we could get them out if we could keep them calm. » He knew it would be his duty to carry out his strategy. What he didn’t know yet was the extent of this dependency.
India’s second inning got off to a bad start. With the team score of 15, Akram’s Laxman was thrown through the gate in a virtual replay of the first innings dismissal. Dravid and Tendulkar then appeared in the supporting cast, with Ramesh only starring in his second test match. It would turn out to be the inning of his life.
Ramesh was eventually sacked for 96, but Sourav Ganguly was there to fail to stabilize the innings with a score of 62. Accompanied by first Kumble and then Javagal Srinath, Ganguly led India to a score of 339.
While Ganguly attacked the Pakistani bowlers, Srinath had drawn a tough 49 on the other end. He later said, “I blamed myself when we lost the Chennai Test by 15 runs. So this time I wanted to beat longer and could combine well with Ganguly, who was a good target. “
Two days before the test, Pakistan had to score 420 points to win the test. It was a challenging task, but something that had been done before. The test and the series were set for an exciting end.
Pakistan started confidently and none of the Indian bowlers made an impression. During lunch, the Indians despaired with 101 no loss that they might actually lose the test.
At that point, coach Anshuman Gaekwad decided to take Azhar aside for a talk. “I spoke to Azhar. I told him the only person driving around Pakistan in Kotla Square at that time was Anil. So we had to take risks with him by making sure he didn’t get tired. Azhar treated Anil extremely well and needs to be recognized, ”says Gaekwad.
After lunch, Azhar Kumble, whose numbers were 0 to 27 that morning, moved to Pavilion End, the Pakistani score still at 101. This turned out to be an inspiring decision. The effect was akin to turning on the brilliance of a previously non-working spotlight on a Broadway stage.
Afridi tried to drive a ball outside the stump that held its line, and the weak edge carried to Mongia. Afridi held its own, but eventually had to go. Kumble would later say, “Who is going? Nobody runs. It was a big turning point. This wicket started it all and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy for the rest of the batsmen. «
Ijaz Ahmed was next. He got a ball that hit his boots at full throw at York speed. Inzamam avoided the shame of taking a hat trick, but his defiance would only take two balls and a nice cover drive Then he displayed the same « lazy elegance » that had marked his four on the previous ball, placing a trademark Kumble « straighter » on his stumps. Yousuf Youhana followed a few balls later, trapped in front of the middle stump.
Suddenly Pakistan was 115 for 4. But Azhar and his men knew it was too early to rejoice because India’s longtime enemy, Saeed Anwar, was still out there.
While Anwar stubbornly defended one end , Kumble broke his leg to spin and bounce, and Moin Khan was only able to lead him into the slip area so Ganguly could catch a nice fall just inches off the ground. Then Kumble dropped a similar shipment, but this time to the dangerous Saeed Anwar, who watched helplessly as the ball spooned from his bat. Laxman on the short leg forward happily took the chance.
Pakistan was now 128 for six and Kumble had six for 15 in 44 balls. « That was when I thought all ten could be mine, » he said later.
Kumble was dog tired by this point and had been bowling non-stop between lunch and tea. The tea revived him and he came out to try the last dangerous pair – Saleem Malik and Wasim Akram.
The pair had already done 58 runs when Kumble decided to throw one of his faster balls at Malik. He threw it briefly and the ball quickly slipped through, pulling out the central stump. A few balls later, Dravid took off Mushtaq Ahmed’s gloves at the gully. Saqlain left the next ball, caught in the front. Kumble had now taken nine wickets.
Javagal Srinath bowled at the other end. In the urban legend, there is a conversation between the captain and the bowler, but Srinath later says, “Nobody had to come and tell me not to take the remaining wicket. Anil had bowled well and was about to set a record. It was just a unanimous decision. “
Despite his best efforts, Srinath almost got akram. VVS Laxman tells me about the whole team that yells at young Ramesh in the middle of the game: « Don’t take the catch » when the ball came towards him. But it all ended well when the ball miraculously fell into no man’s land.
Akram was very aware that Kumble wanted to give him a single and put Waqar Younis on strike, and refused to fall for that bait. It was a game of cat and mouse that couldn’t last forever. Eventually, Akram fell to a simple broken leg and Laxman finished the honors on the short leg, giving Kumble his 10th innings wicket. In one uninterrupted period after lunch, Kumble had taken a staggering 10 wickets for 47 runs in 20.3 overs. It was the greatest single spell in Test Cricket history.
Kumble was carried back to the pavilion on the shoulders of his teammates. “My first reaction is that we won. Nobody dreams of taking ten wickets in one innings because they can’t. The pitch was variable, and cutting and dragging wasn’t easy. All I had to do was pitch in the right area, mix up my pace and spin, and catch the batsmen. The first wicket was the hardest to come by … the openers crossed, « he later recalled.
Many years later, when I first met VVS Laxman, I asked him how nervous he was about that final catch came to him. Laughing, he said: “Very! The pressure on me was bigger than you can imagine. It wasn’t just about the greatest bowling spell in history. Anil was my roommate. I had to take the catch or spend the night outside in the cold Delhi. I didn’t really have a choice, I had to make this catch! “
February 07, 2021 12:54:52 PM
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Following their triumph in Australia, the Indian players had much-needed time at home before entering the bio-bubble for the home series in batches from Wednesday last week.
The home team, led by Virat Kohli, will start with network meetings from Tuesday (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.).
The entire Indian contingent has already arrived in the city and both teams are staying at the Leela Palace Hotel.
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