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On This Day in 1994: The Last Day of Kapil Dev’s Glorious 131-match Test Career

It was the last time millions of cricketing fans witnessed Kapil Dev play his final Test, his 131st Test for India, against New Zealand in 1994. One of India’s most decorated all-rounders and a captain that brought glory by leading India to win their maiden World Cup in 1983. A handyman with the bat and an eye for wickets with the ball, Kapil was never shy of any challenge placed in front of him. The former India captain represented the country in 131 Test matches, the fifth most matches played by an Indian in red-ball cricket.

In an illustrious Test career, Kapil Dev has scored 5,248 runs which include eight centuries and 27 half-centuries and has bagged 434 wickets with the best figure of 9/83, claiming 23 fifers and two ten-wicket hauls.

Playing his final Test against New Zealand in Hamilton, New Zealand captain Ken Rutherford won the toss and elected to bat first. The Indian attacking unit did an impressive job of restricting the hosts in the first innings as India were able to bowl out New Zealand for 187.

It was skipper Rutherford who was able to slam 63 runs and add the much-needed runs for the hosts as Javagal Srinath ran riot, registering figures of 4/60. Kapil Dev claimed the first and his only wicket of the innings, removing opener Blair Hartland for a duck.

Fighting back, India received their first jolt as opener Navjot Sidhu was clean bowled by Danny Morrison for 10. Vinod Kambli was the second wicket for New Zealand as the No. 3 batter was removed by Chris Pringle.

A young Sachin Tendulkar along with opener Nayan Monga added runs to the board before Tendulkar was dismissed for 43 by Shane Thomson. India captain Mohammad Azharuddin slammed a classy half-century before departing for 63. Kapil Dev was only able to score 18 runs before being dismissed. India were bowled out for 246, taking a 59-run lead. Danny Morrison registered figures of 4/52 as the pacer played a vital role in restricting India.

New Zealand fought back hard as Bryan Young and Blair Hartland stitched a 56-run partnership before Javagal Srinath got the first breakthrough. But Young and skipper Rutherford took New Zealand onwards and stitched a 116-run partnership, frustrating the visitors.

Rajesh Chauhan was able to claim the prized wicket of skipper Rutherford, who departed for 59. Young scored 85 runs before being removed by Chauhan. Stephen Fleming kept New Zealand afloat by adding 92 runs to the board before being dismissed. New Zealand declared at 368/7. Kapil Dev managed to claim a wicket in the inning, his final in Test cricket, removing Adam Parore.

310 on the board for India to chase, Nayan Mongia and Navjot Sidhu stitched a 102-run partnership before the former was removed for 38. Sidhu played on and batted well for India before falling two runs short of a century after being dismissed by Matthew Hart. India held on which saw the match end in a draw.

The final Test of Kapil Dev’s career ended on a bright note as India and New Zealand shared the spoils with a draw. On October 17, Kapil Dev played his final ODI match against the West Indies and announced his retirement from international cricket.

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