In this article I’m going to talk about one of the most extraordinary feats in cricket as we look at the small group of players who have taken ten wickets in a test innings.
Bowlers to Take 10 Wickets in a Test Innings
The fact that only three men have taken ten wickets in an innings across nearly 150 years of test cricket tells you how rare this feat is. Even if a bowler is used right through an innings, there is always the chance that his partner at the other end is going to chip in with a wicket of their own.
- Jim Laker
- Anil Kumble
- Ajaz Patel
We’ve established how remarkable this achievement is so let’s now take a look at the three bowlers in question:
1. Jim Laker
England spinner Jim Laker was the first to claim all ten wickets in a test during the Ashes series of 1956. Laker dominated the game and had earlier set up the home side for victory with nine wickets as Australia were dismissed for just 84.
The tourists were forced to follow on and, on a helpful Old Trafford surface, Laker went one better in the second innings. Australia were looking to avoid an innings defeat but, with spin causing all sorts of problems on the damp pitch, they made just 205 second time around.
Laker excelled, taking all ten wickets for just 53 runs. I read an article recently about cricket records that may never be broken. On the list were Jim Laker’s match figures of 19 for 90 and I have to agree that no-one is likely to beat that return.
2. Anil Kumble
Test Cricket had to wait another 43 years before the second instance of a bowler taking all ten wickets in an innings. India’s leg spinner Anil Kumble was the man to write his name in the history books as his team faced Pakistan at Delhi in 1999.
Kumble was a force across his career and would finish with 619 test wickets. 14 of those victims came in this match including relatively modest figures of 4/75 as Pakistan made 172 first time around.
In the fourth innings of the match, Pakistan needed 420 to win but Kumble was unplayable. In 26.3 overs, he claimed all ten wickets for 74 runs as the tourists fell 223 runs short of their target.
3. Ajaz Patel
India was the setting once again for the third 10-wicket haul in test cricket but this time, the home side were on the receiving end. New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel spun his way into the history books when his team took on India in Mumbai in December 2021 as only the third bowler in a test match to ever take 10 wickets in a single innings.
Not only was this a remarkable achievement, New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel made history for two additional reasons. Firstly, he is the only bowler thus far to have taken ten wickets in the first innings of a test. Secondly, he’s the only one to achieve this feat in a losing cause.
In that first innings, India made 325 with Ajaz Patel returning bowling figures of 10/119. In India’s second knock, the New Zealand bowler added four more wickets to his impressive haul, making him the third bowler to achieve this dream.
First Class Cricket
In first class cricket, including those test matches, 10 wickets in an innings has been achieved by 75 players. That may seem a lot but we’re talking about many thousands of games dating back for over 150 years.
A.P. ‘Tich’ Freeman has achieved this on three separate occasions and that’s a record.
Those statistics are correct at the start of 2022 but who will be number 76 on this exclusive list?