Kumble retires as India draw
Third-highest test wicket taker announces retirement from international cricket.
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2008 12:20 GMT

Indian cricketers carry captain Anil Kumble as they bid him farewell [AFP]

India skipper Anil Kumble announced his retirement after the third test against
Australia, quitting the game at his favourite Ferozshah Kotla ground.

India retain the series lead after the game against Australia was declared a draw.

The 38-year-old is test cricket's third-highest test wicket taker with 619 wickets, trailing only Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and Australia's retired Shane Warne.

Tough decision

"It was a very tough decision, especially when you have performed for 18 years and been so competitive," he said at the presentation ceremony after the match had ended in a draw.

"But the body helped me make the decision. This injury also helped."

Kumble had suffered a deep cut in his left little finger which needed 11 stitches during the match.

"I had already decided to leave after this series, but decided once I realised I won't be 100 percent for Nagpur (fourth test)."

The spin bowler has been the team's bowling lynchpin for almost two decades, and the architect of India's dominance on slow home pitches, relying more on subtle variations than sharp turn.

He has also taken 337 wickets from 271 one-day internationals and has already quit the shorter form of the game.

Wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the limited-overs captain and Kumble's deputy, is favoured to take over the job.

Time to go

Kumble, who has played 132 tests, had been facing mounting questions over his future and missed the second test against the Aussies in Mohali due to a shoulder injury.

In 1999, Kumble became only the second bowler in test cricket to claim all 10 wickets in an innings, emulating England's Jim Laker at the same Ferozshah Kotla ground.

Kumble's retirement comes after former skipper Saurav Ganguly announced the current Australia test series would be his last.

The team's senior cricketers have come under increasing pressure with domestic media engaged in frenzied debate whether they should step aside to encourage younger players.

Laxman plays a shot as Brad Haddin and Simon Katich see hopes of a victory fading [AFP]
Disappointing draw

Australia entered the final day nurturing hopes of being able to push for a victory to square the series, and a win still appeared possible in the afternoon session.

However some stubborn batting by Laxman frustrated Australia's attack.

India declared its second innings at 208-5 early in the final session, setting Australia a nominal target of 245 from 23 overs.

After a half-hour at the crease, Australia on 31-0 and a draw inevitable, stumps were called, meaning the series will be decided in the fourth and final test in Nagpur from Thursday.

Australia currently holds the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and must win in Nagpur to retain it.

Strong start

India started the final day needing a couple of strong partnerships to end any hope of an Australian fightback and they achieved it through Laxman (59 not out), who had help from Sachin Tendulkar (47) and Sourav Ganguly (32 not out).

Laxman played some delightful drives and hit seven fours during his 130-ball knock, having registered his fifty with a cover drive for four off Michael Clarke before tea.

Tendulkar was closing on his second half-century of the match when he played back to Cameron White and edged to Matthew Hayden at first slip.

The dismissal reduced India to 145-5 in the middle session before Laxman, who scored 200 not out in the first innings, and Ganguly ensured there was no further loss before the declaration.

Rahul Dravid of India is bowled by Brett Lee [GALLO/GETTY]
Cautious approach

India employed a cautious approach to avoid the possibility of a batting collapse in the morning, but still lost Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid.

The breakthroughs gave the visitors some hope of running through the Indian order and staging a fifth-day run chase, but the Tendulkar-Laxman stand used up valuable time.

India resumed the final day at 43-2, with a lead of 79, and began watchfully, adding just 28 runs in the first hour.

Brett Lee (2-41) secured the first breakthrough after 30 minutes when he bowled Dravid (11) with a full inswinger that the Indian edged onto his stumps.

Opener Gambhir, who followed his first-innings 206 with 36, was untroubled until he missed a ball angled into him from Mitchell Johnson and was given out lbw by Aleem Dar despite the ball appearing to be heading down the legside.

Gambhir is waiting to discover the outcome of his appeal against a one-test ban for elbowing Australian bowler Shane Watson in the chest on Wednesday.

Australia was dismissed for 577 on the fourth day in reply to India's first-innings 613-7 declared.

The fourth and final test starts in Nagpur on November 6.

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