If a team ends the first day of a four-day match at 353 for 1, it is generally assumed that they can t lose from there. Let alone by an innings. Everyone knows Anil Kumble as one of the best spinners of all time, but very few know of his exploit in one First class game for Northampton shire in summer in 1995.
Northampton hosted Nottinghamshire in the County Championship game on one of the flattest decks at the County Ground. Everything seemed to be going right for the Nottingham team as their captain Robert Robinson elected to bat first and got a double ton. Notts finished Day 1 at 353/1 at stumps.
The next day, Northampton bundled out Notts for 527, with Kumble finishing with 4-118 in 50 overs. His teammates including Paul Taylor, Kevin Curran, David Capel, and Jeremy Snape, (all international cricketers), got 107.1-17-358-6. Northants ended day 2 at 149 for no loss.
The third day turned out to be a nightmare for the visitors as the hosts hammered 560 runs in a single day and ended at 709/7 at stumps with Alan Fordham, captain Allan Lamb and keeper Russell Warren getting tons. It was the first time that the Northants team crossed the 700-run mark in first-class cricket as their previous best total was 636/3 against Essex in 1990. David Chapel raced to a 92-ball 114* on the final day morning resuming from rest day with the home team scoring 72 runs in only nine overs. Lamb declared the innings at 781/7 with a lead of 254 runs. The Notts, who were cruising at 353/1 two days ago, needed to bat more than five hours to avoid an innings defeat.
Now, not many people were expecting a result in a pitch like that, but then, they had not taken Kumble into contention. Notts lost only one wicket before lunch, but after that, from 72/1, they slumped to 90/7 with Kumble and Kevin Curran picking 3 each. Notts keeper then tried his best to delay the inevitable, first in a partnership of 43 for 8th wicket with Robert Pick, with Kumble eventually dismissing him. He then batted with no 10 Robert Chapman for another hour, as the game turned into a race against time in the final hour.
Kumble bowled 36 consecutive overs unchanged from the same end, had no 11 John Afford trapped in front to seal a victory for the hosts with just 17 balls to spare in game with the bowling figures of 5-43 in 39.1 overs, as the Notts were bundled out for 157. With the innings and 97-run defeat in this game, Nottinghamshire became the first and only team till date to lose by an innings after posting a 500+ total in their first innings of an First Class game.
With 105 wickets at 20.40, Kumble was the only bowler across counties to hit the 100-wicket mark in the 1995’s Championship. Before Kumble, the last Northants bowler to take a hundred wickets in a single season for Northants was Bishan Singh Bedi (100 in 1973). The last English cricketer to do this for Northants was Haydn Sully (101 in 1966). And nobody has done this since Kumble. There were only two other Northampton bowlers have topped the bowling charts in a County Championship previously and these are George Tribe in 1955 and Sarfraz Nawaz in 1976. Kumble also became the first to take 100 wickets since 1991 (Waqar Younis 113 for Surrey) and the first spinner to do so since 1983 (Derek Underwood 105 for Kent). He was honoured by Wisden as the Player of the Year.
by Paramdeep Rathee