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5 memorable match-winning spells by Indian bowlers in Tests in the last 75 years

Anil Kumble is the most successful bowler for India in Test cricket
Anil Kumble is the most successful bowler for India in Test cricket

India completed 75 years of independence on Monday, August 15. The Indian Test team has undergone radical changes over the past 75 years.

India were always a force to be reckoned with in the longest format, especially in home conditions. Twin overseas victories over West Indies and England in 1971 evidenced the rise of the Indian Test team in overseas conditions.

India have grown from strength to strength in Test cricket, having beaten almost all major Test-playing nations in their backyard, except South Africa. Team India recently beat Australia twice in a Test series - in 2018-2019 and 2020-2021.

Indian bowlers have played a significant part in the country's rise as a giant in the sport.

On that note, here are five match-winning bowling spells by the Indians in Tests in the past 75 years:


#1 Anil Kumble - 10/74 against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla in 1999

Anil Kumble picked up 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in 1999
Anil Kumble picked up 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in 1999

Pakistan toured India for a two-match Test series in 1999 and were 1-0 up, having won the first Test in Chennai.

The second Test was to be played at the famous Feroz Shah Kotla in India's capital city, Delhi. Anil Kumble created history in the said Test by becoming the first Indian bowler to pick up 10 wickets in an innings and only the second in international cricket after Jim Laker of England.

26.3–9–74β€“πŸ”Ÿ #OnThisDay in 1999, @anilkumble1074 became only the second bowler to take all ten wickets in a Test innings 🀯 https://t.co/5wKIwJl6hB

Pakistan were chasing a highly improbable target of 420 to win the Test and their openers got them off to a decent start. Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi added 101 runs for the opening wicket before the latter was out caught behind off Kumble's bowling. The Indian leg-spinner then dismissed the experienced Ijaz Ahmed on the very next ball, getting him lbw.

Inzamam-ul-Haq did not last long as Kumble clean bowled him. Mohammad Yousuf (then-called Yousuf Youhana) also did not open his account as Kumble trapped him lbw. Moin Khan was the next to be dismissed as the visitors lost half of their side with just 127 runs on board.

Kumble thereafter accounted for the wickets of Anwar, Saleem Malik, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq and finally Wasim Akram.

Pakistan were bowled out for 207 as India won the Test by 212 runs to level the series at 1-1.


#2 Ishant Sharma - 7/74 against England at Lord's in 2014

Ishant Sharma picked up seven wickets in an innings at Lord's in 2014
Ishant Sharma picked up seven wickets in an innings at Lord's in 2014

Ishant Sharma was at his very best at Lord's in 2014. England were chasing 319 for victory when the lanky pacer wreaked havoc with the ball. His first victim was Ian Bell, who was out clean bowled.

Ishant thereafter resorted to bowling short balls and the tactic paid rich dividends as he dismissed Sir Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, Matt Prior, Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Stuart Broad.

He picked up seven wickets, guiding India to a famous Test win in England. The visitors won the Test by 95 runs, India's first Test victory at Lord's since 1986.


Ajit Agarkar - 6/41 against Australia at the Adelaible Oval in 2003

Ajit Agarkar picked up 6six wickets at the Adelaide Oval in 2003
Ajit Agarkar picked up 6six wickets at the Adelaide Oval in 2003

Australia amassed 556 in the first innings of the Adelaide Test in 2003, with Ricky Ponting scoring a brilliant double century (242). India responded well in their first innings and piled up 523 runs, riding on Rahul Dravid's 233.

The third innings of the Test witnessed one of the best bowling spells by an Indian pacer in Test cricket. Ajit Agarkar was a mainstay in the Indian ODI team in early 2000s. He was, however, not a permanent member of the Test team.

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His bowling spell on the fourth day of the Adelaide Test helped Team India bowl out Australia for just 191 runs.

He picked up the wickets of Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting, Andy Bichel, Simon Katich, Jason Gillespie and Stuart Macgill.

India successfully chased down a target of 230, with Agarkar being one of the key architects of the visitors' historic win over Australia.


#4 Bhagwat Chandrasekhar - 6/38 against England at the Kennington Oval in 1971:

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India won their first-ever Test on English soil in 1971. The said feat was achieved at the famous Kennington Oval in the third Test of the three-match series. Courtesy of the victory, India clinched the three-match Test series by a 1-0 margin after the first two Tests ended in draws.

England scored 355 runs in their first innings, with India managing 284 in reply. The third innings of the Test witnessed one of the best bowling spells by an Indian spinner in England. Bhagwat Chandrasehkar was unplayable and picked up six wickets to bowl out the hosts for a paltry 101.

His victims were John Edrich, Keith Fletcher, Ray Illingworth, Brian Lockhrust, John Snow and John Prince.

India chased down a target of 173 with four wickets in hand to achieve a memorable feat.


#5 Narendra Hirwani - 8/61 against West Indies at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in 1988

#OnThisDay in 1988, Narendra Hirwani’s Test career got off to a dream start against West Indies in Chennai. The Indian leg-spinner took eight wickets in each innings and finished with match figures of 16/136 πŸ”₯ https://t.co/54UvDRtJda

Narendra Hirwani made his debut against the mighty West Indies in Chennai in 1988 and made an immediate impact. India scored 382 runs in their first innings, with Kapil Dev top-scoring with a fine 109.

When it was India's turn to bowl, a young Hirwani wreaked havoc. West Indies' mighty batting line-up crumbled, with the debutant being the wreaker-in-chief. He claimed eight wickets for 61 runs, dismissing Richie Richardson, Gus Logie, Carl Hooper, Viv Richards, Clyde Butts, Jeff Dujon, Winston Davis and Courtney Walsh.

He picked up eight more wickets in the fourth innings of the Test, registering impressive match figures of 16-136 on his Test debut. India won the match by 255 runs.

Poll : Is Anil Kumble's 10-74 the best ever spell by an Indian bowler in Test cricket?

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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