Flashback – 5 of Best Bowling Spells by Shane Warne

Shane Warne was arguably the greatest entertainer of his generation. A Cricket centre in his own, Warne has produced some of the most exceptional spells of leg spin bowling.

We take a look at 5 of the greatest spells by Spin King.

1. 51-4 vs England, 1993 Ashes 1St Test at Old Trafford, Manchester

The performance has to be Warne’s defining spell if not the best and it came at the start of an era of Australian dominance over England that lasted one and a half decade.

On the second day of the first test at Old Trafford, Captain Allan Border called Warne to deliver his first over of Ashes’ career. By then, the spin wizard has established a good reputation behind him, but no one imagined him to have such a massive effect on the very first ball.

The first ball to Mike Gatting, England’s best batsman of spin Gatting pitched outside leg and turned to knock the top of off stump; it took 30 seconds for Gatting to understand what has happened there.

The ball has rightly been termed as “ball of the century“.

2. 46-6 vs England, 2005 Ashes 2nd Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham

The 2005 Edgbaston test has always been counted amongst greatest test matches in history. Despite Australia’s heartbreaking loss on the last day, Warne was pivotal in helping his side stage a comeback after they finished first innings with 99 runs deficit.

Without their premier paceman Glen McGrath, the Aussies lagged far behind in the game, and England looked almost certain to hold all the aces. However, Warne had other ideas as he castled Andrew Strauss on pinching cobra which was reminiscent of Mike Gatting’s dismissal. The ball pitched in rough in front of Strauss and turned massively to knock off the leg stump. Strauss was stunned but Warne scripted Australia’s memorable comeback with his superb spell of 46-6.

3. 48-6 vs England,1997 Ashes 3rd Test at Old Trafford, Manchester

Old Trafford seemed to have been a lucky ground for Shane Warne. In 1997, only four years later after leaving a remarkable impression on British fans, Warne returned to England but didn’t have much impact in first two games and the result.

The Kangaroos reached Old Trafford trailing 0-1 in the series and were shot down for just 235 despite Stev Waugh’s hundred. With England 74-1, it looked the Ashes was almost going to England this time. However, Warne knocked Alec Stewart and started a collapse which ended only with an Australian win. Figures of 48-6 on a turning pitch might not look very impressive, but the spell had a defining impact on the series.

4. 34-6 vs South Africa, 1997-98, 2nd Test at Sydney Cricket Ground

Warne had a tremendous record against South Africa and produced many top-notch spells against them. However, if one has to pick one spell, it has to be Sydney on the new year in 1998 when he not only enthralled the Proteas with magical spin but also picked up his 300th test wicket by knocking Jacques Kallis with a perfect leg spin snorter. A quality ball for a quality batsman as Taylor called it.

Warne was back to his best after disappointing in the first Test: the ball which removed Richardson in the first innings was a near-replica of the famous one which did for Mike Gatting at Old Trafford in 1993.

5. 246-12 vs England 5th Test at Oval, 2005

The 5th test at the Oval in 2005 was a defining moment as England got the Ashes back after 16 years. It was a moment when for the first time, the golden generation of Australian cricketers lost the Ashes. Anyone who witnessed the last day’s play at Oval on 12th Septemeber 2005 would acknowledge that every Australian gave more than 100% to retain the urn and it was Brett Lee and Shane Warne you just can’t argue.

At the age of 36, Warne was just superb in the match bowling tirelessly, and that’s the reason we whole of match figure of 246-12 rather than a single spell. During the game, Warne’s skills were on a full range show. The Way he ripped apart England top order raised Australian hope to win the match before rain ruined and Kevin Pietersen dashed their hopes.

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