Amit Varma is contributing editor of Cricinfo
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On his 32nd birthday, Anil Kumble gave India yet another gift, with a classy haul of 5 for 30 in 23.3 overs. Kumble has often been stereotyped as a bowler with metronomic accuracy and not much spin or variety, but that is only half true - his control is awesome, but he also has all the other tricks of his trade. His length demonstrated his control. As many as 99 of the 141 balls he bowled - 70% - were either on a good length or just short. Astoundingly, he also bowled 26 yorkers - and Kumble's ripping yorkers are arguably the most vicious any spinner can bowl. Added to the good-length and just-short deliveries, that makes for 125 spot-on balls, or 87% of his total. No wonder then that the batsmen were not in control of their strokes for 34 of those deliveries, and as many as 39 of them - or 28% - were potentially wicket-taking. That's more than one in four balls.
Variety. Besides the variations in flight and loop that these figures cannot reflect, Kumble also unleashed all the weapons in a leggie's repertoire. The 141 balls he bowled - 87 to left-handers - contained 80 legbreaks, 32 topspinners, 27 googlies and two flippers, and his line was similarly and discerningly diverse, with 52 deliveries outside off, 41 on off stump, 31 on middle and 17 on leg or outside. His economy-rate of 1.27 indicates how efficiently he kept the batsmen on a leash before strangling them - long may he live for that.
Amit Varma is assistant editor of Wisden.com in India.