Shane Warne arrived in England for the 1993 Ashes relatively unknown outside Australia, with only a 7/52 against the West Indies punctuating a mediocre first winter in the side for the chubby young spinner. This all changed on the second morning of the first test when Aussie captain Allan Border threw the rookie the ball and Warne made his first mark on the game that he would go on to dominate.
Experienced batsman Mike Gatting took guard as the blonde leggie trotted in off a short run up and unleashed what would be christened “the ball of the century”. It dragged right and pitched almost a foot outside leg stump, Gatting defended confidently before the ball spun more than anyone thought possible, flying past Gatting’s bat and clipping the top of off stump, sending the bails flying.
The wicket launched Warne’s success as he became the jewel in the crown of the best Australian team of all time and went on to take over 700 test wickets. It prompted a resurgence of leg spin, an art previously seen as archaic, paving the way for leggies like England’s Rashid. The ball was a logic defying thing of beauty and changed cricket as a sport.
Last modified: 26th October 2018