On This Day In 1994: Kapil Dev Surpasses Hadlee, Becomes Top Test Wicket-Taker

Curated By: Nibandh Vinod

Last Updated: February 08, 2024, 07:00 IST

Kapil Dev retired as the world's leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, boasting a staggering 434 scalps. (Image: ICC/X, formerly Twitter)

Kapil Dev retired as the world’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, boasting a staggering 434 scalps. (Image: ICC/X, formerly Twitter)

Sri Lankan opener Dilshan edged Kapil Dev’s delivery to Sanjay Manjrekar at short-leg, sparking a deafening roar as Kapil claimed his record-breaking 432nd Test wicket. To commemorate this occasion, the Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium sky was flooded with 432 balloons.

February 8, 1994, saw the Ahmedabad Motera Stadium pulsating with electric energy. The air crackled with anticipation, not just for another day of India versus Sri Lanka Test cricket, but for a potential rewrite of cricketing history. In the midst of this charged atmosphere, Indian legend Kapil Dev, renowned for his swashbuckling batting and fiery pace bowling, stood on the cusp of a monumental achievement.

With 431 Test wickets already under his belt, Kapil was just one away from surpassing the then-record held by New Zealand’s Richard Hadlee. The tension mounted as Sri Lanka, having won the toss, opted to bat. It was in the eighth over of the innings that history unfolded.

Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka’s opening batsman, edged a delivery from Kapil’s relentless bowling into the waiting gloves of Sanjay Manjrekar at forward short-leg. The roar that erupted from the stands was deafening, a collective gasp of awe and joy as Kapil had etched his name in the record books with his 432nd Test wicket.

To commemorate this momentous occasion, the stadium sky was flooded with 432 balloons, each soaring a silent toast to the Indian legend’s incredible journey. Kapil, overwhelmed by the adulation, acknowledged the crowd with a humble smile, the weight of the achievement etched on his face.

The match itself continued with India dominating throughout.

While Sri Lanka fought back with valiant half-centuries from Roshan Mahanama and Hashan Tillakaratne, it was India’s bowling attack, spearheaded by the spin duo of Venkatapathy Raju and Rajesh Chauhan, that proved too strong.

Mohammad Azharuddin, India’s captain, added his own flair with three acrobatic catches, further electrifying the atmosphere. Ultimately, India registered a resounding victory by an innings and 17 runs, sealing a perfect 3-0 series whitewash.

Beyond the immediate joy of victory, February 8, 1994, remained etched in cricketing history for Kapil Dev’s phenomenal feat. It was a testament to his dedication, skill, and unwavering spirit, inspiring generations of cricketers across the globe. This day was not just about breaking records, but about witnessing the legend of Kapil Dev reach even greater heights.

Following this historic feat, Kapil capped his career with one final Test against New Zealand before bowing out of the game. He retired as the world’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, boasting a staggering 434 scalps.

This record stood tall for six years before being surpassed by West Indies fast bowler Courtney Walsh in 2000. Today, Sri Lanka’s spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan reigns supreme with an unparalleled 800 Test wickets.

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