Anil Kumble appeals for the final wicket to complete the 'Perfect Ten'

Force 10 from Kotla: Kumble dismisses Akram to take the final wicket

Hamish Blair / © Associated Press

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No. 11
Anil Kumble: 4 for 75 and 10 for 74
India v Pakistan, Delhi, 1999
As a young boy, when Anil Kumble left home for a match, his mother urged him to "take a hat-trick". At the end of the series-levelling triumph in Delhi - India's first Test win over Pakistan in nearly two decades - Kumble worried that his mum would now send him off with "take ten wickets". If the wry quip was typical of the man, so was the stunning spell that preceded it. At 101 for no loss on day four, with Pakistan set to draw the game and win the series, Kumble lured Shahid Afridi to snick one to the wicketkeeper. The dam burst. Kumble extinguished the middle order with legbreaks, topspinners and an Exocet that zeroed in on Ijaz Ahmed's boots: 6 for 15 in 44 balls. Saleem Malik and Wasim Akram resisted, but after tea, a rejuvenated Kumble wiped out the tail - with his chum Javagal Srinath bowling wide of the stumps to ensure a perfect ten. The post-match talk was rife with gripes about the pitch, which had been vandalised the previous month, and the quality of the umpiring. But few disputed the freakishness of the feat - No. 2 on the "Wisden 100" - and the greatness of the bowler who had delivered it. - Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

You shall not pass: in Port-of-Spain, Allan Border dug in on a difficult pitch to save the Test

You shall not pass: in Port-of-Spain, Allan Border dug in on a difficult pitch to save the Test © Associated Press

No. 12
Allan Border: 98 not out and 100 not out
West Indies v Australia, Port-of-Spain, 1984
Asked whether this was his finest hour, Allan Border is reputed to have said: "More like my finest 10 hours!" An Australian side shorn of Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh faced up to a moist pitch on which Joel Garner bore down on them. Sent in, Australia were 16 for 3 and then 85 for 5, cue for a young Dean Jones to enter the fray on debut. Jones remembers a damp, tacky pitch sporting divots short of a length, and of the jarring lift Garner could extract. Border shepherded Jones through a stand of 100 in almost three hours, before watching from the non-striker's end as the tail folded, leaving him two shy of a hundred. On the final day Border produced a worthy reprise, this time reaching the mark. Conditions had eased but a yawning deficit placed Australia in grave danger. Operating on a level of defensive skill that left his team-mates awestruck, Border charted a course to safety, helped by a 61-run stand with last man Terry Alderman - no one's idea of a batsman. Upon hearing of the draw, Marsh called long distance to insist that tradition be set aside and the team victory song delivered. - Daniel Brettig

Imran Khan: terrifying with the ball, terrific with the bat

Imran Khan: terrifying with the ball, terrific with the bat © Getty Images

No. 13
Imran Khan: 117; 6 for 96 and 5 for 82
Pakistan v India, Faisalabad, 1983
Throughout that six-Test series, the mere sight of Imran Khan at the bowling crease held sublime terror for India's batsmen. Numerically he was almost twice as potent as the next bowler. His 40 wickets were harvested at just under 14, and in an age when the rest of the world was unaware of the art or science of reverse swing, Imran's banana-benders could well have seemed like black magic. His 11 wickets had sunk India in the previous Test, in Karachi, but to repeat the feat in Faisalabad he had to find the inner superhuman. It was a pitch designed to make every batting dream come true and the first two innings produced over a thousand runs at nearly 4.5 an over, to which Imran himself contributed a rollicking 117 off 121. With the ball, Imran's formula remained the same: go close to the stumps in the delivery stride, swerve the ball wide of off at scorching pace and snake it in as if the stumps were a great magnetic force. Foreknowledge was scant protection for the speed and the quantum of late movement that often rendered the bat a worthless accessory. Eight of his 11 victims were either bowled or pinned leg-before, and Imran's only lament was that he was unable to breach Sunil Gavaskar's (127 not out) defence in the second innings. - Sambit Bal

Whack it like Viv: Richards blasts his way to 291

Whack it like Viv: Richards blasts his way to 291 © Getty Images

No. 14
Viv Richards: 291
England v West Indies, The Oval, 1976
England's captain Tony Greig started the series by promising to make West Indies "grovel". By the time the teams reached The Oval, England were heading for a comprehensive defeat and Viv Richards, on his first tour of England, had announced himself as a batsman of rare destructiveness. The summer of 1976 was hot, the expansive outfield was parched; by the end of Richards' murderous assault England's bowlers were more parched still. Derek Underwood bowled more than 60 overs of brisk left-arm spin and finished with a stoop. Kennington resounded to the sound of Caribbean songs, and there was an excited pitch invasion when Richards reached 200. He had batted brilliantly all summer, and here his range and power were awesome as he wielded his huge Stuart Surridge Jumbo bat for the final time in the series. He made 291 out of West Indies' 687 for 8 declared, and when Greig finally bowled him many regretted that he had not beaten Garry Sobers' 365. His innings was all the more remarkable as after the first day, when he was 200 not out, he had a party in his room at the Waldorf Hotel. - David Hopps

Quadruple carnage: Brian Lara regained the record for the highest Test score ten years after he first broke it, at the same venue and against the same opposition

Quadruple carnage: Brian Lara regained the record for the highest Test score ten years after he first broke it, at the same venue and against the same opposition © Getty Images

No. 15
Brian Lara: 400 not out
West Indies v England, St John's, 2004
Two April mornings in Antigua, a decade apart to the week. The stage remained the same, but the context for Brian Lara's second assault on the batting record could hardly have been more different. Back in 1994 the arrival of the prince seemed to herald a bright future for the region. Ten apocalyptic years later even England, of all teams, had learned how to beat West Indies. Michael Vaughan's men were 3-0 up by the time the series rolled around to the Antigua Recreation Ground. As for Lara - by this stage a polarising presence in his own dressing room - he wasn't even in possession of the record that he held most dear. Six months earlier Matthew Hayden had pillaged Zimbabwe to swipe a record that had been bound to the Caribbean since 1958. But as soon as Lara earned first use of a scandalously lifeless wicket, the reclamation was preordained. Hayden's record was equalled with a dismissive swipe for six over Gareth Batty's head, before a sweep for four sealed the spoils. Accusations of selfishness rang out as loudly as the paeans but he did not care a jot. And neither did the sport's chroniclers, who welcomed the return of the king. - Andrew Miller

Don't wait for Gordo: Greenidge needed only 66.1 overs to chase down 342

Don't wait for Gordo: Greenidge needed only 66.1 overs to chase down 342 © PA Photos

No. 16
Gordon Greenidge: 214 not out
England v West Indies, Lord's, 1984
When David Gower imagined victory over West Indies at Lord's in 1984 and set 342 in 78 overs, nobody accused him of generosity. But England's bowlers wilted in the face of one of the most brutal innings in history. Greenidge's unbeaten double-hundred brought West Indies a nine-wicket win and put them on the way not just to a historic blackwash but continued a sequence that ultimately came to rest at what was then a record 11 successive wins. Late in his career when Greenidge limped, cricket legend had it that it made him more dangerous, and he limped that day at Lord's. Gower maintained an attacking field, Greenidge hunted down each bowler in turn with blistering square drives, cuts and leg-side crunches. A six over square leg off Ian Botham and a disdainful straight drive past Derek Pringle were among the highlights. A mix-up that caused the run-out of Desmond Haynes merely concentrated his mind. It was the only wicket England managed all day. And Gower became only the second England captain to declare in the second innings and lose. - David Hopps

Curtly Ambrose was too fast and furious for Australia at the WACA in 1993

Curtly Ambrose was too fast and furious for Australia at the WACA in 1993 © Getty Images

No. 17
Curtly Ambrose: 7 for 25 and 2 for 54
Australia v West Indies, Perth, 1993

"We have been talking earlier in the series about just how unlucky Curtly Ambrose is. When he has a day when he hits the edge all the time, it will be worth watching."
- Greg Chappell, on air, after Ambrose was done with his devastating 6.2-5-1-7.

Ambrose had already taken 24 wickets in four Tests, more than anyone else in the series. West Indies had kept the Frank Worrell Trophy since 1977-78 and not lost a Test series in 13 years, but their supremacy was intact only thanks to a one-run series-levelling win in Adelaide. Australia made a solid start in Perth and fought their way to 85 for 2 when Ambrose returned. There was no crazy movement off the seam. Just extreme pace and bounce off a length. Mark Waugh and David Boon defended length balls that got too big, Allan Border got a mean offcutter first ball, Ian Healy's bat reached the line of the ball before his foot did; six of the victims were caught behind the wicket. It wasn't Ambrose's best spell ever, but the Aussies had reached their breaking point. Bowled out for 119, they lost the series then and there. And it was worth watching. - Sidharth Monga

Solitary splendour: Brian Lara's Colombo effort was masterful but came in a heavy defeat

Solitary splendour: Brian Lara's Colombo effort was masterful but came in a heavy defeat © AFP

No. 18
Brian Lara: 221 and 130
Sri Lanka v West Indies, Colombo, 2001
It is difficult to recall a series of batting efforts as lonesome as Brian Lara's remarkable tour of Sri Lanka in 2001. Driven to rare focus by the criticism a lean stretch had drawn, Lara began the tour with 178 in Galle, hit more runs than any other batsman in a Kandy low scorer, and came to Colombo to deliver a rousing sermon on batting in Asia. Early in his 221, he took runs freely through the leg side off Chaminda Vaas, shuffling across his stumps, wrists whipping like a sail that had caught the wind. In the second half, Lara's feet seemed to be on a conveyor belt to the pitch of the ball, as he smoked Murali down the ground. Having given up a 237-run lead, West Indies were out to save the Test in their second dig, but by now, Lara's batting would not be dictated by the match situation. His 130 featured 14 fours and a six, and his dismissal sparked the collapse that hastened the end. Lara had spent 11 and a half hours at the crease, yet West Indies lost by ten wickets and were whitewashed in the series. His match aggregate of 351 remains the highest in a losing cause. - Andrew Fidel Fernando

Rahul Dravid played the lead in Adelaide as India's defied Australia's might for the second time in under three years

Rahul Dravid played the lead in Adelaide as India's defied Australia's might for the second time in under three years © Getty Images

No. 19
Rahul Dravid: 233 and 72 not out; 3 catches
Australia v India, Adelaide, 2003
In Indian Test history's golden decade, which featured Rahul Dravid in many starring roles in overseas wins, this was a pure diamond. It was Kolkata in reverse: the back-against-the-wall magnum opus came in the first innings, and the vital cameo in the second. Dravid took centre stage with VVS Laxman offering stellar support. Their alliance yielded 303 runs from 85 for 4 after Australia had shellacked 556 - 400 of those on the first day. Dravid's double-hundred featured only one false stroke - a miscued hook for six that brought up his hundred - and featured all the Dravidian qualities: monumental patience, sure footwork, gorgeous cover drives and an utter devotion to the team cause. Ajit Agarkar set India on the path to victory with a six-for, but Dravid navigated a tricky chase to bring up the first Indian Test win on Australian soil in 23 years. He had been on the field all five days, batting for 835 minutes, and pouching three slip catches, one a stunner on the stretch, to break Australia's most significant partnership in the second innings. The only time he was unsteady was on the walk back to the hotel having allowed himself a drink after the job was done. - Sambit Bal

Maiden miracle: Narendra Hirwani took an astonishing 16 wickets on debut

Maiden miracle: Narendra Hirwani took an astonishing 16 wickets on debut © Getty Images

No. 20
Narendra Hirwani: 8 for 61 and 8 for 75
India v West Indies, Madras, 1988
When a group of selectors in Indore spotted a grossly overweight 14-year-old who had travelled more than 1000 kilometres for a trial, they had a good laugh. The kid was unshaken, insisting that he would play for India. Five years on, a match-ready Narendra Hirwani made good on his promise. And how! Selected for the series decider on a pitch that was severely underprepared, the bespectacled, headbanded, wristbanded, mustachioed Hirwani burst forth with the most astonishing debut of all. Eight wickets in the first innings, eight in the second: against a side that hadn't lost a Test to India in nine years. This was legspin at its most enchanting. On day two he unfurled prodigious legbreaks and googlies, imparting generous flight. On the rest day Hirwani told his room-mate that he would nail the in-form Viv Richards. On day three he brought out a devastating flipper. And knocked back Richards' stumps. Outfoxed in the first innings, the West Indies batsmen tried to throw him off his rhythm by rushing down the pitch. Hirwani flattened the trajectory while continuing to conjure big turn, and had five of the last six second-innings victims stumped. Batsmen charged, batsmen missed, and Hirwani burnt the record books. - Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

Read Nos. 21-30 here

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