On This Day – January 30, 1994 – Kapil Dev Equaled Richard Hadlee’s Record of 431 Test Wickets
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.
Manoj Prabhakar (4 wickets) and Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble (3 wickets each) ensured that Sri Lanka was bowled out for 231 in under 60 overs giving India a big first innings lead. The visitors, following on, kept losing wickets at regular intervals and with the exception of Hashan Tillakaratne’s 80, there were no other substantial contributions.
Kapil Dev was chasing Richard Hadlee’s record of the highest number of Test wickets in history. Sri Lanka were 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.
Azharuddin was the Player of the Match but handed over the award to Kapil Dev post the match. The Indian legend had picked 5 wickets in the match to reach the tally of Richard Hadlee.
Hadlee was the first bowler in the history of the game to take 400 Test wickets. He achieved the milestone during the first Test against India at Christchurch in 1990. His 400th wicket was that of Sanjay Manjrekar.
Just 9 days after equaling Hadlee’s record, Kapil Dev surpassed it when he got rid of Hashan Tillakaratne in the first innings of the third Test in Ahmedabad.