Kumble, Mongia deconstruct the magic numbers: 10/74

On February 7, 1999 Indian spin legend Anil Kumble claimed a 10-wicket haul against Pakistan to become the second cricketer, first from India, to achieve the feat; behind England offie Jim Laker (10/53). It has been 21 years since the ‘jumbo’ spell but Kumble and the then ‘keeper Nayan Mongia remember every bit. Pakistan was set a target of 420 in the second innings and then, began the magic.

“I wanted to bowl a bit flatter at him, so that the wicket could do the rest. The ball was keeping low and Afridi nicked it,” said Kumble. Mongia, who caught the maverick batsman, added, “It was a quicker one and Afridi went for a drive. He got an outer edge and I was glad to accept the offering.”
“Ijaz is always known to me as a leg-before candidate. I wanted to pitch right up to him at yorker length and hit his toes and that’s all I tried,” he recalled. Mongia, added, “It was a good yorker and Ijaz played it with his pads and was out leg-before.”
“That was not my wicket-taking ball, really. It just happened. I kept it low outside the off-stump, he got an inside edge and was bowled,” explained Kumble. “Inzamam is a big man and he didn’t bend too much. The ball kept very low,” Mongia remembered.
“He doesn’t put his right foot up and on these wickets, where the ball is keeping low, if you are hit on your pads with the ball in line, you will be plumb. His bat was inside and I don’t think he was looking to play that ball,” analysed the legend. Mongia called the delivery, “a fast, flat delivery pitched short and right on the stumps.”
“It was a slower leg-break which kicked off the length and went to Sourav Ganguly, who took a good catch,” he added. Mongia threw light on Moin’s feet movement. “He was bowling quicker deliveries and Moin doesn’t stretch too much. There was a patch Anil was getting bounce from and he pitched it right there.”
“I bowled round the stumps to him the whole innings. I also missed a caught-and-bowled chance. I changed to over the stumps because I thought I’ll get more body into the action with a bit of bounce. The leg-break I bowled to him kicked a bit more than expected, it touched his gloves and went to short-leg,” Kumble recalled. Mongia: “When Anil bowled leg-spin, it was difficult for the left-hander.”
“He had this hamstring problem and his feet were not as mobile. I don’t think he expected the ball to skid. The flipper bounced a little more and he was trying to pull, which was a big bonus,” added Kumble. “Normally, only a batsman not from the sub-continent will go for a cut or a pull on such a delivery. He went for a mid-wicket pull and was bowled,” Mongia summed it up.
“I bowled a leg-break, like I did to Moin. It turned, bounced and went to Rahul Dravid at gully,” he said. According to Mongia, Mushtaq had been handling Kumble well till, “he tried leg-spin again.”
“I just wanted to pitch a yorker-length delivery right up to the stumps and he was trapped,” he said. Mongia knew the spinner’s variations and added, “His pace varies and this was, once again, a fast yorker.”
“I just bowled a leg-break hoping he would nick it, get bowled or even take a top edge to square leg. So, it just happened,” said Kumble on his 10th victim, who was also the then skipper of Pakistan. “Thanks to Srinath (Javagal) who bowled wide balls outside the off-stump. Waqar Younis tried his best to get out but he missed. We all were hoping Srinath wouldn’t get the wicket,” Mongia fondly remembers.