Cricinfo: Australia v India 2007-08Cricinfo Capgemini

1st Test: India v Pakistan at Delhi, Nov 22-26, 2007

"Kumble's Kotla connection"

Anil Kumble

It’s a well-known fact that the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi is one of Anil Kumble’s favourite venues. With 48 wickets from five matches leading upto this Test, it was only fitting that Kumble had the fortune of leading India for the first time in a Test here, also picking up the Man-of-the-Match award for his match-haul of 7 for 106. Of course, nobody would forget his innings rout of 10 or 74 against the same opposition in 1999.

Kumble has thrived on the slow surface at the Kotla, getting deliveries to keep low on the batsmen and shoot through. The surface appeared flat on the first morning and after the seamers kept Pakistan in check under the smog, Kumble stepped in once the sun came out and made an impact. He trapped Yasir Hameed with one that straightened after pitching, and later returned to inflict further damage after the opposition had already lost half their side. Kamran Akmal was squared up by one that kept low and he hit the timber on two more occasions to finish with figures of 4 for 38. It was a clinical performance by the whole side and importantly, it was the ‘Kumble ethic’ which rubbed off on the rest, sticking to the basics and inducing the errors from the batsmen.

Fresh from a maiden Test century at The Oval during the tour of England, Kumble showed his prowess with the bat as well, stringing together 54 with VVS Laxman at a crucial stage after the top order fell in a hurry. Laxman needed support at the other end to extend India’s lead and Kumble did his bit, scoring a chance-less 24.

With the match in the balance after the Pakistan openers buckled down to add 71, Kumble struck yet again. Sharp reflexes by Laxman at silly point gave Kumble his first wicket of the innings and it was the nature of the dismissal which lifted the side and swung the match India’s way again. Perhaps his most important scalp was that of the in-form Younis Khan, trapped in front of the stumps for 23, followed by Salman Butt’s wicket for 67. The visitors failed to recover sufficiently after those three strikes, eventually setting India a target of 203 to win, which they chased with ease.

Kumble’s captaincy too earned praise from the experts and the most impressive aspect was his handling of the bowlers. He persisted with Sourav Ganguly for longish spells, wasn’t afraid to hand him the new ball despite two specialist seamers in the side and that paid off as he picked up important wickets.


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