In 1956 Jim Laker became the first player in the history of Test cricket to take all ten wickets in an innings.
Laker took ten for 53 in Australia’s second innings in the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in 1956. In the first innings he had taken nine wickets but could not take all ten as the third Aussie wicket of Burke was claimed by Tony Lock.
Only one other bowler has repeated the feat of ten wickets in an innings. Current Indian coach Anil Kumble took 10-74 in 1999 versus Pakistan at the Kotla, Delhi. This was in the news recently when Wasim Akram had a public spat with Waqar Younus on twitter by accusing him of trying to get run out to deny Kumble the tenner.
Younus denied the charge. Akram and Younus indeed were batting together when nine wickets had fallen and Akram became Kumble’s tenth wicket when he was out caught by VVS Laxman. That innings also saw Indian quick Javagal Srinath bowling wide of the wickets so as not to take the 10th wicket accidentally.
While there are 75 instances of Test cricketers claiming eight wickets in an innings, there are only 16 instances of Test cricketers claiming nine wickets in an innings. Sri Lanka’s Murali has done it twice and the latest instance being that by Rangana Herath, also of Sri Lanka.
While there are 75 instances of Test cricketers claiming eight wickets in an innings, there are only 16 instances of Test cricketers claiming nine wickets in an innings.
Following is the entire list, country-wise.
England – George Lohmann , Jim Laker, Devon Malcolm, Sydney Barnes
Sri Lanka – Murali, Murali, Rangana Herath
New Zealand – Richard Hadlee
India – Kapil Dev, Jasu Patel, SP Gupte
Pakistan – Abdul Qadir, Sarfraz Nawaz
West Indies – Jack Noreiga
Australia – Arthur Mailey
South Africa – Hugh Tayfield
Six of the 16 are quicks while the others are spinners. Lohmann, Devon Malcolm, Hadlee, Sarfraz, Kapil and Barnes are the quicks. Gupte, Qadir, Mailey are the leg-break spinners. All others namely Jim Laker, Murali, Herath, Jasu Patel, Gupte, Qadir, Noreiga, Tayfield, Mailey are all off-break spinners while Herath is the only left arm spinner in this exalted list.
In all, 13 of these 16 resulted in wins. The three which were in losing cause were coincidentally Tests between India and West Indies. The gallant feats of Kapil Dev and Gupte could not get India a win. So also Noreiga could not get West Indies a win.
Now among them did anyone have a realistic chance of getting ten. If say seven or eight wickets have been taken by one bowler then there is a realistic chance of his getting all ten.
There are only four such instances where bowlers had this realistic chance.
First let us rule out the ones who did not have a chance.
Lohmann, Kapil Dev and Noreiga took nine in a row after a teammate got an opener out. Lohmann took nine for England in their innings win after Woods clean bowled South African Routledge at Johannesberg in 1896.
Kapil took his nine against Clive Lloyd’s strong West Indies team at Ahmedabad in 1983 after Sandhu had taken the wicket of Desmond Haynes. Similarly, Shilliangford took the very first Indian wicket of Ashok Mankad before off break bowler Noreiga ran through the rest of the Indian team at Port of Spain, 1971 in Gavaskar’s debut Test.
Similar to Laker (fellow bowler taking the third wicket), Tayfield took nine to get South Africa a famous win by getting England all out for 214 in an iffy chase of 232 at Johannesburg in 1957, where Insole was the third English wicket to fall, with Goddard being the bowler.
Herath too recently took nine Pakistani wickets at Colombo in 2014 to help Sri Lanka have a comfortable 105-run win. The third Pakistani wicket to fall, that of Ahmed Shehzad was claimed by Perera.
Chandu Borde by taking the fourth Aussie batsman O’Neill denied Jasu Patel his tenner. India won this Test match at Kanpur in 1959 quite comfortably.
When Abdul Qadir took his nine wickets for Pakistan at Lahore in 1987 in their innings win the fifth English wicket, that of Capel was taken by Tauseef Ahmed.
Mailey took nine English wickets to help Australia to an eight wicket win in a timeless Test at Melbourne in 1921. However, he too had no chance of taking ten as Hendren was the fifth Englishman to be out, bowled by Kelleway.
There are two instances of a bowler taking nine wickets and the 10th being run out. In one of Murali’s two nine wicket hauls, Alec Stewart was run out as the fourth English batsman to be out.
This was at the Oval in 1998 where Sri Lanka won by ten wickets. Similarly Graham Yallop by being run out denied Sarfraz Nawaz his ten at Melbourne when Pakistan won against Australia by bowling them out for 310 when the Aussies were chasing 382.
Finally, when Barnes took nine wickets versus South Africa at Johannesberg in 1913-14, Wooley took the seventh South African wicket to fall when he bowled Ward.
Now let us see the four instances of cricketers coming close to Laker’s and Kumble’s feat
Hadlee came close when New Zealand bowled out Australia for 179 at Brisbane in 1985 but Lawson, the ninth Aussie wicket to fall was taken by Brown.
So did Devon Macolm, who had taken seven versus South Africa when Darren Gough took a wicket before Malcolm took his eighth and ninth.
Subhash Gupte too came close by taking seven before Ranjane took the wicket of Lance Gibbs and then Gupte took his eighth and ninth to bowl West Indies out for 222 at Kanpur. In this Test both West Indies and India scored 222 each before Sobers hit a monumental 198 (unfortunately run out) and then West Indies bowled the Indians out with Wes Hall taking five Indian wickets.
However the closest instance was when Murali took nine wickets in a row versus Zimbabwe at Kandy. Murali took G Flower’s wicket as his and innings’ ninth wicket on first ball of the 86th over.
Then Jayasuriya bowled four overs from other end before Samaraweera was brought in to bowl 95th and then Vaas to bowl 97th over. So, Murali bowled five overs and five balls to try to get his 10th but could not as Vaas got Olonga caught behind by Sangakkara for 18.
Murali simply was not destined to get the tenth as a couple of overs earlier Arnold had dropped a catch as well and in another wicket taking attempt Murali’s appeal was turned down.