It has been 22 years for those two balls which got the better of the world’s two finest batsmen. There have been many records in cricket which have well been forgotten but this isn’t one of them. This is a record that has stayed with cricketing fans for 22 years Anniversary Of Shoaib Akhtar’s Twin Strikes and counting. It can never be forgotten.
India and Pakistan facing each other in a Test match is enough reason for excitement. But add to it the names like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis, it makes the contest even more thrilling.
Pakistan had got the better of India in Chennai in the first Test defeating them by 12 runs while Anil Kumble’s perfect ten (10-74) had helped India stage a comeback in Delhi. The Kolkata Test was going to be the informal finale of the glorious rivalry. There was a certain player who went by the name Shoaib Akhtar who was making waves in international cricket thanks to his speed. He was touted to be the fastest bowler in the world. Akhtar had played just 8 Tests before this game.
Akhtar stuns India!
India were in a pretty strong position in the second session of the 2nd day in the Test match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Rahul Dravid by now had become India’s rock and was one of the leading Test batsmen in the world. Shoaib Akhtar was getting ready for a spell. The crowd in the stadium and the fans glued to the TV sets could sense something. Akhtar’s only goal was to bowl and bowl fast. He didn’t care for reputation. Akhtar began his run-up, collar up and eyebrows raised, the world was set to witness the magic.
Akhtar’s run-up was anything but normal, flailing arms, thumping legs, heaving chest, flowing hair. Akhtar was high on testosterone and that was visible. He bowled a beast of an inswinger which castled Dravid all ends up. There was disbelief that how could someone breach the defence of Dravid and that too in such a stunning fashion. Akhtar was on his bird-like celebration. The shocked fans soon found their voice back as they saw Sachin Tendulkar walking in to replace Rahul Dravid.
The Rawalpindi express knocks over Tendulkar!
Sachin Tendulkar had dismantled many bowling attacks and was by far the best Test batsmen of his generation back then. He was expected to tame Akhtar. But Akhtar bowled a magic ball first up which removed Tendulkar’s middle stump and sent them on a cartwheel. The crowd were stunned, shocked, and silenced. Pakistan went on to win the match by 46 runs but none of the moments from the Test match are as gripping as this one! A rampaging fast bowler knocking stumps of two of the best batsmen! It surely is an epic 22nd anniversary.
On This Day in 1999 – Shoaib Akhtar’s two fiery yorkers to Dravid and Tendulkar 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/FqmM3JAV7E
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) February 17, 2021