New Zealand's Mumbai-born spinner, Ajaz Patel on Saturday made history by taking all ten Indian wickets in the first innings of the second Test at Wankhede Stadium. Such is the enormity of Patel's feat that only two bowlers had done it before him in 144 years of Test cricket.
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Legendary Indian spinner Anil Kumble, who's the second bowler to claim cricket's own 'perfect 10' against Pakistan in 1999, was among the first to congratulate Patel.
The former India captain, welcoming the 33-year-old to the exclusive club, wrote in a Twitter post: "Well bowled! A special effort to achieve it on Day1 & 2 of a test match."
Welcome to the club #AjazPatel #Perfect10 Well bowled! A special effort to achieve it on Day1 & 2 of a test match. #INDvzNZ— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) December 4, 2021
"Every time you go out there, people will expect you to get 10-fer." - @anilkumble1074
As #AjazPatel receives a ðÂÂÂÂ±ðÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂ welcome to the club, here's what Anil Kumble had to say!#INDvNZ #INDvsNZ #10Wickets pic.twitter.com/CP9Sgm53SG— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) December 4, 2021
After the day's play, a "humbled" Patel revealed that he has seen the highlights of that famous Delhi Test.
"I remember his [Anil Kumble's] ten-for. I have seen highlights of that game plenty of times. Very illustrious group to be a part of. Great to see his message and his kind words. Humbled and fortunate to be in that company," Patel said.
The first bowler to take all ten wickets in a Test innings was England's Jim Laker, who achieved the feat in 1956 against Australia.
Patel, who helped New Zealand save the first Test in Kanpur with a defiant knock, tried to relive the play leading up to the historic feat in his birth place.
"After I came off the field, things happened too quickly. These things don't sink in until later. It’s brilliant for me, my family and my wife. You spend a lot of time away from home as a cricketer and I'm just grateful to God for this occasion. It's a very special for me," he added.
On a rain-truncated Day 1 Friday, Patel took four wickets as India reached 221/4 in 70 overs. He then wrapped up the Indian first innings for 325 with figures of 10/119 in 47.5 overs.
"Personally, it's one of the greatest cricketing days of my life and it probably will always be," Patel said.
But his effort may not be enough to save the Kiwis this time.
India pacer Mohammed Siraj, who missed the drawn first Test at Green Park, produced a sensational opening spell to reduce the Kiwis to 17/3 in 5.1 overs.
Then the spinners, led by mercurial Ravichandran Ashwin, took the remaining seven wickets as the visitors collapsed to 62 all out, thus conceding a 263-run innings lead.
This was New Zealand's lowest total against India, beating the previous low of 94 at Hamilton in 2002 by some margins. It's also the lowest Test total in India.
"From the team's perspective, we put ourselves in a tough position. We have to front up tomorrow and work as hard as possible and see if we can turn the game around or eke out something special," Patel admitted.
At the close of play, India were 69/0 (21) and have already taken a lead of 332 runs with three days left in the Test.
Another Patel ten-wicket haul in the second essay may yet save the Kiwis. Nobody has taken all 20 wickets in a match though. Had it not for Tony Lock, Laker would have achieved that feat in that Old Trafford Test 65 years ago.