Cricket: Cricket-The ball of the century that launched Warne’s career


LONDON (Reuters) – With a single twist of his proper wrist on an early summer season day at Old Trafford in 1993 Shane Warne not solely bamboozled England’s batsman Mike Gatting with the so-called “Ball of the Century” but in addition revived the noble artwork of leg spin.

The bleached blond-haired Warne arrived on that tour of England comparatively unknown exterior Australia and with pretty unspectacular figures from his first 11 check matches.

All that modified right away on the second morning of an Ashes collection during which Warne took an unbelievable 34 wickets in Australia’s 4-1 drubbing of the hosts.

With England having made a strong begin in reply to Australia’s first innings 289, captain Allan Border handed the ball to Warne.

After loosening up his arm and surveying the place his fielders had been positioned, Warne started his ambling run-up off not more than 10 paces at nearly strolling tempo.

The beautifully-flighted supply initially gave the impression to be heading straight however started to float via the air in the direction of the right-handed Gatting — a vastly skilled batsman recognized for his experience in opposition to spin bowling.

The ball pitched a foot exterior the line of Gatting’s leg stump and with the batsman thrusting his left pad ahead together with his bat angled down, it gripped in the mud.

It then spat and bounced again at a forty five diploma angle, ripping previous the edge of Gatting’s bat and hitting the prime of off stump.

Richie Benaud, the nice Australian commentator working for the BBC, appeared as bemused as Gatting as his preliminary response was as if he had witnessed simply an on a regular basis dismissal.

“He’s carried out it,” Benaud mentioned after a short silence, earlier than including: “He’s began off with the most lovely supply.

“Gatting has completely no concept of what’s occurred to him.”

As a smiling Warne was congratulated by his group mates Gatting started the lengthy stroll off, trying again over his shoulder at his tormentor and shrugging his shoulders in resignation.

With a single, extraordinary, supply Warne solid a spell over England and by the finish of the innings he had additionally accounted for Robin Smith, Graham Gooch and Andy Caddick as the hosts capitulated to 210 all out.

Gooch later described Gatting’s response as “like somebody had simply stolen his lunch” whereas in later years Gatting mirrored on unwittingly turning into half of cricket folklore.

“It was one of these great highlights of the sport, it is one of these bits of historical past that belongs not solely to me however to in all probability the finest leg-spinner of all time.”

Whenever requested about ‘The Ball’ Warne modestly insisted it was “a bit of a fluke”. But he was not fooling anybody.

It was merely the opening piece of magic from a cricketing wizard who went on to take 708 check wickets — a determine solely bettered by Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan — and made leg spin bowling cool once more.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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