Kumble emulated Englishman Jim Laker's feat against Australia 43 years ago, finishing with 10-74 from 26.3 overs as India routed Pakistan by 212 runs in the second Test to square the short two-match series. Laker took 10-53 in the Manchester Test in 1956, finishing with 19 wickets in the match.
Kumble, a 28-year-old computer engineer, proved unplayable on the dusty Ferozeshah Kotla track, providing a sensational finish to Pakistan's first Test series on Indian soil in 12 years. Wasim Akram's Pakistan, chasing a mammoth victory target of 420, had no answer to Kumble's guile and were shot out for 207 an hour after tea on the fourth day.
"It's a dream, an honour to get all 10," Kumble said after being named man of the match by referee Cammie Smith of the West Indies. "I knew I had to bowl straight to be successful on this wicket. I kept a good line and it all worked out in the end. I would like to take this wicket with me wherever I go."
In his moment of glory, the modest bowler paid tribute to his teenage spinning partner Harbhajan Singh and seamers Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad. "I don't think I would have got there without their support," he said.
Indian cricket fans celebrated with unconfined joy. The moment Kumble took his final wicket to dismiss the Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, many of the 25,000 crowd at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground broke into an ecstatic dance, chanting "Kumble", "Kumble". A snake charmer played his traditional pipe outside the ground as Indian officials carried Kumble to the pavilion in their arms. Hundreds of security men fought to control the hysterical crowd. Kumble's shirt was grabbed and torn by fans clamouring to touch him.
India's emotional triumph against their great arch-rivals came on a pitch that had to be repaired after it was vandalised by Hindu Shiv Sena party extremists only a few weeks ago. The extremists subsequently called off a threat to disrupt the tour only hours before the Pakistanis arrived.
"To win against Pakistan is very special," spectator Sanjay Dhingra said. "Losing against them really hurts and especially if you lose a close one like in Madras."
The former England captain Colin Cowdrey, who played in Laker's Test at Old Trafford in 1956, when the Yorkshire born Surrey off-spinner took 19 Australian wickets in the match, thanked Kumble for providing a "great day for cricket" with a performance that he never imagined could happen in the modern day game. Cowdrey, now Lord Cowdrey, said: "I never thought it would happen again. It is so difficult to do. Of course, you need to bowl brilliantly. But the chances of no other Test match bowler taking a wicket at the other end means you need to stay lucky too. [Laker's Surrey spin twin] Tony Lock also bowled beautifully at Old Trafford but he only got one wicket out of 20 - and that was the one that I caught. I never thought an all-10 would happen again. It is so unlikely, especially for a leg-spinner against Pakistan, because they can play it pretty well. It is a phenomenal achievement. I am particularly pleased a leg-spinner has done it. It is a great day."
Ray Illingworth, another former England captain, was also at pains to point out the odds stacked against anyone taking all 10 wickets. "It's a tremendous achievement at any level, but to do it in an international is almost unbelievable," said the ex-Yorkshire off-spinner. "The hard part is when you get to number seven or eight. I've played in matches and taken the first seven or eight wickets, but those were in county games. It's not so bad when your team-mates can take it a bit easy at the other end, but this was a Test match."
Kumble finished with 21 wickets from two games - seven wickets at Madras and 14 in this Test. He now has 234 Test wickets from 51 matches, having taken five wickets in an innings 12 times and 10 in a match on two occasions.
The odds were heavily stacked against Pakistan when they began their second innings. But openers Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi gave the tourists a glimmer of hope when they smashed 101 for the first wicket in 98 minutes. Kumble, however, swung the match India's way as Pakistan lost six top order batsmen for the addition of 27 runs.
The rout began with a contentious decision by the debutant Indian umpire AV Jayaprakash, who ruled Afridi caught behind by wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia when the ball appeared to have missed the bat. Kumble's next delivery rapped Ijaz Ahmed on the full and Jayaprakash, a former first-class cricketer, once again raised his finger.
Fired up by the twin success, Kumble went on to complete his amazing feat.
India beat Pakistan by 212 runs
India 252 and 339, Pakistan 172 and 207.
Two-match series drawn 1-1
The Anil Kumble story, page 21
PAKISTAN - Second Innings
Saeed Anwar c Laxman b Kumble 69
Shahid Afridi c Mongia b Kumble 41
Ijaz Ahmad lbw b Kumble 0
Inzamam-ul-Haq b Kumble 6
Yousuf Youhanna lbw b Kumble 0
Moin Khan c Ganguly b Kumble 3
Salim Malik b Kumble 15
Wasim Akram c Laxman b Kumble 37
Mushtaq Ahmed c Dravid b Kumble 1
Saqlain Mushtaq lbw b Kumble 0
Waqar Younis not out 6
Extras (10nb, 2w, 15b, 2lb) 29
Total (60.3 overs) 207
Fall: 1-101 2-101 3-115 4-115 5-127 6-128 7-186 8-198 9-198.
Bowling: Srinath 12-2-50-0 (nb-7 w-2); Prasad 4-1-15-0 (nb-1); Kumble 26.3-9-74-10 (nb-2); Singh 18-5-51-0.
Result: India beat Pakistan by 212 runs.
BEST TEST INNINGS BOWLING
10-53 J C Laker: ENGLAND v Australia, Old Trafford, 1956.
10-74 A R Kumble: INDIA v Pakistan, New Delhi, 1999.
9-28 G A Lohmann: S Africa v ENGLAND, Johannesburg, 1896.
9-37 J C Laker: ENGLAND v Australia, Old Trafford, 1956.
9-52 R J Hadlee: NEW ZEALAND v Australia, Brisbane, 1985/86.
9-56 Abdul Qadir: PAKISTAN v England, Lahore, 1987/88.
9-57 D E Malcolm: ENGLAND v South Africa, The Oval, 1994.
9-65 M Muralitharan: England v SRI LANKA, The Oval 1998.
9-69 J M Patel: INDIA v Australia, Kanpur, 1959/60.
9-83 Kapil Dev: INDIA v West Indies, Ahmedabad, 1983/84.
9-86 Sarfraz Nawaz: Australia v PAKISTAN, Melbourne, 1978/79.
9-95 J M Noriega: WEST INDIES v India, Port of Spain, 1970/71.
9-102 S P Gupte: INDIA v West Indies, Kanpur, 1958/59.