On this day: Shane Warne’s ‘Ball of the Century’ stuns Mike Gatting
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Shane Warne is often regarded by many as the greatest spinner of all time in the history of cricket. His career tally of 708 Test wickets is mindboggling by itself. But it’s not just this amazing stat that gives him the stature he has but also the numerous hours of match footage, some of which is available online, in which he leaves some of the greatest batsmen of his generation look like poor judges of a delivery.

One such incident happened on June 4, 1993, during his first Ashes tour to England. Warne went into the series being touted as a talent to keep an eye on.

The leg-spinner was brought on by captain Allan Border after fast bowler Merv Hughes had dismissed a resolute Mike Atherton to end his opening stand with Graham Gooch in the first Test in Manchester. Mike Gatting was five years from his retirement and a veteran of England’s battles against Australia.

He got into position to face the young leg-spinner. Warne flighted the delivery which pitched well outside the leg stump. Gatting offered his bat, and the ball ended up fizzing past it to hit the off stump.

Gatting looked as bewildered as ever and kept looking back towards the middle on his long walk back to the pavilion. “It’s one of those wonderful highlights of the game, one of those bits of history that belongs not only to me but to probably the greatest leg-spinner of all time,” Gatting would say many years later in a video posted by the England and Wales Cricket Board on its YouTube page.

Many years later, a much older Warne would leave a young Andrew Strauss bewildered in a similar fashion during the famous 2005 Edgbaston Test. This time though, Warne’s delivery pitched well outside Strauss’ off stump and the latter brought his front foot across to ward it off in case it moved in. It did move in, spun past his front foot and crashed into the top half of his leg stump.