Happy Birthday Shane Warne: Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne ticks another year and turns 49. Regarded as the best spinner to have played the game of cricket, the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1994 bagged 1001 international wickets in his life. He is also credited for bowling the ball of the century to Mike Gatting in his first Ashes tour. As Warne inches close to 50, we relive the five best deliveries bowled by the spin legend.
1993, Australia vs England, Mike Gatting:
The ball is still called the ball of the 19th century. A young Warne, who was playing his first Ashes series, pitched the ball way outside the leg-stump of Mike Gatting, the ball turned and clipped the top of off. Gatting was surprised and so was everyone present at the ground. They knew a new hero was born. The event occurred on day two of the first Test of the 1993 Ashes series (4 June 1993), which took place at Old Trafford, Manchester. With his first ball against England, in his first Ashes Test, Warne produced a spectacular delivery that bowled Gatting. It became recognised as being of considerable significance in not just the context of the match or series, but in cricket in general, helping to revive leg spin bowling.
2005, Australia vs England, Andrew Strauss:
Known as the “The Strauss Ball” from the 2005 Ashes, this is one ball that the young generation would remember. Warne came around the wicket, hit the rough outside Strauss’ off-stump, the Englishman was playing for tea and was looking to pad it out. To his surprise, the ball missed everything and clipped the leg-stump. All the fielders around the batsman were in utmost awe of what had just happened. It was the 2nd day of what turned out to be the greatest Test Match of all time. England had scored 407 runs on Day One. In response, Austraila only scored 308 runs on Day Two. England, therefore, had a 99 run lead; which increased to 124 runs as Strauss and Trescothick batted out the last few overs in the 2nd day’s play.
2005, Australia vs West Indies, Darren Powell:
It was the fourth ball of the over to the nightwatchman after Ramnaresh Sarwan had cut the ball to pick up a single and go to the other end. Warne after trying a few normal leggies slipped in a fast leg break outside the right-hander’s leg-stump. Powell tried to flick it on the leg side, but once he missed it the ball went on to hit the middle-stump from around his legs.
2005, Australia vs New Zealand, Hamish Marshall:
It was Shane Warne’s 1000th wicket. Hamish Marshal, it was, who was trying to block a ball with his pads that pitched outside the leg-stump. It happened during the 1st Test against the Kiwis in their soil.
1999, Australia vs Pakistan, Saeed Anwar:
This was another gem from Warne, who had already made a name for himself by then. The match was being played at Hobart and Pakistan was in a good position, when Warne came around the wicket and bowled the ball way outside the off-stump, the ball pitched and turned square to hit Anwar’s leg-stump. It seemed the ball picked up pace after pitching.