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02 Nov 2008 12:35
India skipper Anil Kumble was set to officially announce his retirement as the third Test against Australia ended in a tame draw on Sunday.
Kumble, Test cricket’s third most-prolific bowler with 619 wickets, told Indian cricket officials he would hang up his boots at the conclusion of the game.
Vangipurappu Laxman stroked 59 not out after scoring 200 not out in the first innings as India declared their second innings closed at 208-5 after tea, setting Australia an improbable target of 245 runs in 23 overs.
Australia were 31 for no loss in their second innings when the match was called off as a draw after giving leg-spinner Kumble the honour to open the bowling.
Kumble, wearing a faded blue India cap, was given a guard of honour by his teammates before entering his favourite ground to bowl for one last time before retirement.
The fans at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium gave him a standing ovation.
In 1999, the 38-year-old took all 10 Pakistan second-innings wickets at the venue to become only the second Test bowler to achieve the feat and bowl the team to a series-levelling win.
Kumble’s sudden announcement overshadowed Australia’s brilliant fightback in the Test after India thrashed them by 320 runs in the previous game to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
Strike bowler Brett Lee took his second wicket by forcing Rahul Dravid to play on to the stumps for 11 to reduce India to 53-3in the morning, bringing pressure on the hosts.
However, Laxman added 52 runs with Sachin Tendulkar (47) for the fifth wicket and another 63 with Saurav Ganguly (22 not out) for the unbroken sixth wicket to push the game towards a draw.
Lee showed sparks of his old fire to return 2-48.
Australian bowlers bowled sharp spells to back skipper Ricky Ponting’s field placements against defensive-minded Indian batsmen, as any mild hopes of a result ebbed away after lunch.
The final Test starts in Nagpur on November 6.—Reuters
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