How Jim Laker and Anil Kumble got to bowling perfection before Ajaz Patel

  • FirstCricket Staff
  • December 4th, 2021
  • 20:48:26 IST

Ajaz Patel became just the third bowler in cricket history to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings after taking 10-119 for New Zealand against India on Saturday in Mumbai, the city where he was born.

Jim Laker, for England against Australia in 1956, and Anil Kumble, for India against Pakistan in 1999, were the only bowlers to have previously taken all 10 wickets in a test innings.

“To be honest, it's pretty surreal, I don’t think you ever believe you are going to achieve something like that,” Patel said. “To be able to do that in my career is pretty special.”

The 33-year-old Patel took four wickets on day one and added another six on day two — two in his first over of the day and another four after lunch, as India was dismissed for 325 in the series-deciding Test at Wankhede Stadium.

"It’s just about finding good rhythm and just being repetitive, asking good questions of the batters,” Patel said.

Patel is playing in his 11th Test. In his previous 10, he had taken just 29 wickets across 18 innings, but now has 39 in 19.

“Welcome to the club #AjazPatel #Perfect10 Well bowled!" Kumble said in a tweet.

Patel said he's in “very illustrious company” to be alongside Laker and Kumble in the history books.

"I guess the stars have aligned for me to have an occasion like that here in Mumbai, to be born here and then come back here and achieve something like that is pretty special,” he said.

New Zealand, though, were later bowled out for a paltry 62 in response as Ravichandran Ashwin (4/8) and Mohammed Siraj (3/19) running riot.

The hosts decided against enforcing the follow-on, finishing the day on 69/0, leading by 332 runs with three days left in the Test.

Let us take a detailed look at the three instances of 10-wicket hauls in Test cricket:

Jim Laker (10/56), England vs Australia, Manchester, 1956:

The England off-spinner became the first in the history of Test cricket to achieve the feat when he bowled his side to an unassailable 2-1 series lead in the 1956 Ashes.

File image of England off-spinner Jim Laker. Getty Images

File image of England off-spinner Jim Laker. Getty Images

After levelling the series at Headingley with an innings win, the hosts got off to a strong start with a first innings score of 459, before the spin pair of Laker and Tony Lock tore through the Australian lineup as they build relentless pressure on the visiting batters, though it was the former who would collect nine of the 10 wickets on offer. Had it not been for Lock's dismissal of Jim Burke, Laker could've held claim to being the only bowler in the history of the game to complete a clean sweep across both innings.

England enforced follow-on, and while the Ian Johnson-led side got off to a much better side, reaching 114/2 at one stage on the final day, before the spinners dug in once again. Lock once again was relegated to a supporting act, though this time he wouldn't have a single wicket to his credit, as Laker ended up collecting all 10 wickets on offer, registering the best bowling figures (19/90) in the history of the format.

Anil Kumble (10/74), India vs Pakistan, New Delhi, 1999:

Though no bowler would come close to taking 19 wickets in a Test since Laker's epic feat in 1956, India's Anil Kumble would go on to become only the second bowler to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings more than four decades later.

India were hosting Pakistan in a much-hyped two-match Test series — the first such meeting between the two South Asian arch-rivals in a decade. The visitors got their tour off to a winning start with a narrow-12 run win, and were hoping to sweep the series in Delhi. The wily left-arm spinner from Bangalore, who had become an integral member of the Indian team in the mid-to-late 1990s, had other plans.

Set 42o to win, Pakistan got off to a strong start with a 101-run opening stand between Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi. Kumble, turned the tide by getting Afridi caught-behind for 41, before trapping Ijaz Ahmed LBW the very next ball. Four overs later, he would remove Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana (now Mohammad Yousuf) in a space of three deliveries to put the visitors under further pressure. By the time Anwar was dismissed for 69 with the scorecard reading 128/6, the match was as good as over.

Kumble though, kept running through the Pakistani middle-order, and by the time he got to nine wickets with the dismissal of Saqlain Mushtaq, a sense of excitement swept across the Kotla with the leg-spinner on the verge of joining one of the most exclusive clubs in the sport. Pacer Javagal Srinath, who was bowling in tandem towards the closing stages of the innings, began bowling a wide, defensive line to the last-wicket pair of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, and the Indians themselves weren't too keen on grabbing any chances created off his bowling.

Kumble would seal the deal by getting Akram caught at short leg, guiding India to a memorable 212-run series-levelling victory.

Ajaz Patel (10/119), New Zealand vs India, Mumbai, 2021:

After an off-spinner and a leg-spinner, it was the turn of a left-arm orthodox spinner to join the exclusive 10-wicket club, and New Zealand's Ajaz Patel would do one better than Laker and Kumble — he would achieve the feat on foreign soil, even if Mumbai happened to be the city he was born and spent a portion of his childhood in.

It also happened to be the first time that a bowler scalped the first 10 wickets of a Test match. The first wicket of this epic feat came in the form of Shubman Gill nicking one to Ross Taylor at slip to depart for 44, after having survived a stumping chance in the previous delivery. Patel would go on to collect three more wickets later in the opening day, dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli off consecutive balls though the latter was a contentious one with doubts over an inside edge onto the pad.

Patel would make an instant impact the following day, getting rid of both Wriddhiman Saha and Ravichandran Ashwin off consecutive deliveries in his first over of Day 2. Overnight centurion Mayank Agarwal though, would fight on, forging a valuable seventh-wicket stand with Axar Patel (52) before getting caught-behind for 150. Axar himself departed after bringing up his maiden fifty.

Ajaz would then complete the feat by getting rid of Jayant Yadav and Mohammed Siraj in his 48th over, leading to frenzied celebrations on the field coupled with a standing ovation from the Indian dressing room as well as the Wankhede crowd as the Mumbai-born lad made history.

With inputs from AP

Updated Date: December 04, 2021 20:48:26 IST

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