When cricketer Kapil Dev set a record for taking 432 wickets in test cricket, it was a momentous occasion for India and Indians. And with that, he became the world’s leading Test wicket-taker. As this match was played in India, in Ahmedabad to be exact, exactly 432 balloons were released and the pacer was chaired by the team and carried around the ground.
When the Indian cricket team captain Mohammad Azharuddin received the rightful Man of the Match trophy, he sportingly gave it to the fast bowler who was also a middle-order batsman. So overwhelmed was the now 62-year-old that he is known to have sat in the dressing room with a towel over his head, trying to regain his composure.
It was the second Test between India and Sri Lanka being played in Bengaluru. India had won the toss, elected to bat first and made merry on a good batting wicket. Navjot Sidhu (99), Vinod Kambli (82) and Sachin Tendulkar (96) all came close to getting a hundred but the only batsman to achieve the feat was the skipper, Mohammad Azharuddin, who top-scored with 108. The home team amassed 541 before making a declaration after losing 6 wickets.
Kapil Dev was chasing Richard Hadlee’s record of the highest number of Test wickets in history. Sri Lanka was reduced to 188 for 8, with Kapil Dev still two wickets behind Richard Hadlee’s record of 431 Test wickets. It seemed like the great all-rounder would have to wait for the third Test to equal the record.
But Kapil then suddenly got the wicket of Pramodya Wickramasinghe and was just one wicket away from equaling the great New Zealand all-rounder. There was excitement in the Indian dressing room, amongst the crowd and in the media. And then it happened!
With the team score at 215, Kapil dismissed Don Anurasiri with the captain Azharuddin taking the catch and with it equaled Richard Hadlee’s record of the highest number of wickets in Test cricket history. Kapil Dev had reached the magical figure of 431 on Martyrs’ Day! India won the Test by an innings and 95 runs and with it took the series.