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Analysis

The 400-wicket club

When Anil Kumble sneaked through Simon Katich's defences on the opening day of the Bangalore Test, he became only the ninth bowler in the history of Test cricket to reach the 400-wicket landmark

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
25-Jun-2005
When Anil Kumble sneaked through Simon Katich's defences on the opening day of the Bangalore Test, he became only the ninth bowler in the history of Test cricket to reach the 400-wicket landmark. Of the eight who have done it before him, six are fast bowlers, but the two on top of the heap are both spinners - Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne.
Kumble achieved the landmark in his 85th Test, which makes him the third-fastest to reach the milestone, in terms of matches played. Only Muttiah Muralitharan and Richard Hadlee have done better. Like those two, Kumble has often been the only strike bowler in the side, which has probably meant a greater opportunity to be among the wickets, but which has also consistently put them under far greater pressure, a challenge to which all three have responded magnificently.
The three of them share something else - they are the only bowlers among the nine who have bowled their 400th victim - Hadlee defeated Sanjay Manjrekar's technique in 1989-90 at Christchurch, while Murali's was a rather less distinguished batsman - Henry Olonga. Kumble and Hadlee are also the only lucky ones to achieve this landmark on their home ground.
Next in Kumble's sights is Curtly Ambrose, who is only five wickets in front. Another 35 will put him ahead of Kapil Dev as India's leading wicket-taker in Tests. With five more matches after this to follow at home, you wouldn't put it beyond Kumble to reach that landmark within the next couple of months.
The 400 club 400th wicket in Test no. Against Venue & year
Muralitharan 72 Zimbabwe Galle, 2001-02
Hadlee 80 India Christchurch, 1989-90
Kumble 85 Australia Bangalore, 2004-05
McGrath 87 Pakistan Sharjah, 2002-03
Warne 92 England The Oval, 2001
Akram 96 Sri Lanka SSC Colombo, 2000
Ambrose 97 England Headingley, 2000
Walsh 107 Australia Trinidad, 1998-99
Kapil 115 Australia Perth, 1992-93