India v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 5th day March 21, 2005

Impeccable Kumble

On the Ball with S Rajesh

On a wearing pitch, Anil Kumble was expected to provide the cutting edge to the Indian attack, and he didn't let the team down. Of the 71.3 overs bowled on the fifth day, Kumble sent down 33, and returned outstanding figures of 6 for 46.

Kumble had struggled somewhat on the second day of the match, but he had come into his own on the third, cutting out the short balls and getting his length right. On the final day, he continued in a similar vein - more than 93% of his deliveries landed on a good length, and in the final session, all the balls he bowled landed on a good length. Kumble bowled 228 balls in Pakistan's second innings, out of which 25.3% were potentially wicket-taking ones. In comparison, the corresponding figure for Harbhajan Singh was just 16.9%.

The only batsman who tackled Kumble with confidence was Asim Kamal, who played a knock of immense maturity and skill, scoring 50 from 144 balls. Kamal was especially impressive in the manner in which he tackled Kumble, achieving an in-control percent of 86 against him - the rest of Pakistan's batsmen were only in control 72% of the time. Ultimately, though, Kumble nailed Kamal too, and made sure that India would go into his hometown Test ahead 1-0.