Watch: ‘Raised eyebrow and a little nod’ – Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ changed Test cricket
June 4, 1993. First Ashes Test at Manchester. Mike Gatting bold Shane Warne, England 2/80 in the first innings.
This was no ordinary dismissal. It was dubbed the “ball of the century” as Gatting was hit by a Warne missile which pitched outside leg stump and knocked his off stump.
Warne aged just 23 at the time came up with a ripper which hit the headlines the world over as fans replayed the ball in their heads and on TV.
This one’s known as the “Ball of the Century”, I always wondered if one can narrow down years of cricket played all around the world to just one great delivery. But today I’ll happily accept it as the greatest delivery ever bowled by the greatest ever. pic.twitter.com/m51vu4WeRP
— Sayantan Ghosh (@sayantansunnyg) March 4, 2022
It was the era of television with no social media or mobile phones and surely no retweets and Trending news.
Warne not only captured the imagination of the cricket world he became Australia’s main strike bowler after Glen McGrath in the 1990s.
The feat was repeated again in other Tests but not with the same euphoria and passion as the first one at Old Trafford in Manchester.
This is how the legendry Richie Benaud who was in the commentary box described Warne’s marvellous act: “First ball in Test cricket in England for Shane Warne, He has done it. He started off with the most beautiful delivery.”
“Gatting has absolutely no idea what has happened to it and he still does not know, a raised eyebrow and a little nod that’s all it needed,” Benaud said as he himself seemed bamboozled just as much as Gatting. Warne finished with 34 wickets in the Ashes series as Australia reigned supreme.
1993 was also a magical year for the late bowling legend as he claimed 71 wickets which was a record for a spin bowler. Warne almost revived the art of leg-spin with that one delivery at Manchester.
Warne had played just 11 Tests until Manchester and was not regarded as a great or even close to it. His debut against India at Sydney in 1991 was a big flop as Ravi Shastri hit him all over the ground but he blew away Gatting and England at Manchester and picked up the eight wickets in the Test as Australia thrashed England by 179 runs. Warne naturally picket up the man of the match award.
Interestingly, captain Graham Gooch was declared out in the second innings for “handling” the ball after he scored 133. Clearly, it was a historic match.
The “ball of the century” now lives on in memory and it still Trends nearly 30 years later.
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