When Anil Kumble Hit His Only International Century In England

Anil Kumble is by far the best bowler India has ever produced. He holds a long list of records and achievements, including being India’s highest test-wicket taker with 619 scalps and being the 4th highest test-wicket-taker overall only behind Muralitharan, Shane Warne, and James Anderson. His most famous record is that of achieving the rare feat of taking all 10 wickets in an inning, which he did against arch-rivals Pakistan in 1999. In this article, however, we will not talk about any of his bowling performances but his batting and specifically Anil Kumble’s century – his only international hundred which he made against England in England. Kumble scored an unbeaten 110 at The Oval in 2007.

Test Series In England

In India’s test series against England in England back in 2007, India were leading the series 1-0 coming into the 3rd and final test of the series. They had managed to draw the first match at Lord’s and had won the second test at Nottingham on the back of some brilliant bowling by Zaheer Khan. For context, India had not won a series in England since 1986 and now with the series standing at 1-0, the long-awaited series win in England was really possible.

India Start Well

India had won the toss and captain Dravid decided to bat first as the wicket at the Oval looked good for batting. They batted well and were at 417/6 when Kumble came out to bat with MS Dhoni hitting the ball really well on the other end.

India already had good enough runs on the board and just needed that punch to give the final blow to the England team. And that’s exactly what Anil Kumble aided by the lower order was able to do.

Dhoni & Kumble

Dhoni was striking the ball and was playing beautifully while Kumble ensured Dhoni got the strike, and just like that they were able to build a partnership of 91 runs for the 7th wicket ensuring India reached 500 runs.

Kumble Plays With The Tail

After Dhoni’s dismissal, Kumble stitched partnerships with the tail, as he was supported by Zaheer Khan and RP Singh. Kumble got to his 50 off 109 balls.

He had a partnership of 62 runs with Zaheer Khan.

The ninth wicket fell for India and in walked S Sreesanth, and Kumble still needed 24 runs to reach his century. Sreesanth told Anil Kumble,  “You deserve a hundred and I’ll hang around. You don’t worry.”

And thus the two added 73 runs for the last wicket with Sreesanth scoring 35 runs.

 

Anil Kumble’s Maiden Century: ‘Jumbo’ scores at unbeaten 110 

Anil Kumble finally reached the landmark 3-digit figure in a rather unusual way.

He edged a ball from part-timer Kevin Pietersen that went through Matt Prior’s legs to fine leg for four.

This was met by a standing ovation from both the crowds and his teammates. Kumble in a rare show of emotion celebrated this hundred by pumping the air with a clenched fist.

 

He later thanked the lower order for supporting him and allowing him to make his century.

“The support I got from Sree, Dhoni, and Zaheer was very important. Sree kept saying ‘You deserve a hundred and I will hang around’, it felt very special.”

England Draw The Test

Kumble remained unbeaten at 110* as India ended the first innings with a huge total of 664.

England batted next and got all out for 345 runs where Kumble again contributed by taking 3 wickets. Instead of giving a follow-on India batted again and put on a target of 500 for England to chase in the last innings. England couldn’t even get close to the total but somehow managed to draw the test.

India’s Series Win In England

And with that India ended their 21-year-old dry spell and won a series in England 1-0. Kumble, obviously was awarded the player of the match for his all-round performance for taking 5 wickets in the match and hitting a glorious century. In fact, in the whole series, Kumble was the only Indian batsman to score a century! Anil Kumble got to his maiden century after 118 matches and overtook Vaas for taking the most matches to score a maiden century.

“We had a team meeting a couple of days back and I just mentioned that it’s about time our batsmen scored a hundred in the series, but I never thought I’d have to do it (laughs). Jokingly, I mentioned it again at tea time when I was batting on 60, saying: ‘Maybe it’s my turn to go out there and get a hundred’,” said Kumble.

   
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