That Ball

12/4/09 in Cricket   |   gwadineeraj   |   99 respect

The Beginning: It was a summer in Manchester in 1993, Australia was facing a full strength English side after some length of time, as a lot of English players had to face suspension due to the South African apartheid issue. The Aussies had retained the last ashes against a depleted English side and had beaten the English in 1989 as well. The wicket at Old Trafford was supposedly a spin friendly one as the hosts packed their side with two spinners namely Phil Tufnell and Peter Such. The visitors had a chubby blonde haired player as their spinner, a man who had been plundered for 220 for one on his test debut by the Indians and the English had the likes of Gooch and Gatting in their team, who were good players of spin.

The Stage and The Play: The Australians were bowled out for a below par score of 289 even after Taylor and Slater(on debut) had added 128 for the first wicket. Peter Such(another debutant) had taken 6/67 and caused the australians to collapse and lose last nine wickets for 100 odd runs.The aussies would have been cursing themselves for picking a solitary inexperienced spinner while they had a more experienced spinner in Tim May in the squad. England began confidently and had added 71 for the 1st wicket before Merv Hughes had Atherton caught by Healy. Out came Mike Gatting, he had scored a boundary when the Australian skipper asked his blonde spinner to come to bowl.

The Highlight: As the Australian spinner started his run up to bowl his 1st bowl in a almost hundred year old rivalry between the two teams few could have imagined what happened next. The ball, as it left the bowlers hand started to drift towards the leg side, it then drifted further and landed way outside the leg stump. Gatting a good player of spin did the obvious he went on the front foot and planted the pad just in line outside leg stump covered the mid stump with the back leg, knowing he can’t be given out to a ball pitching outside leg stump, and had the bat close to his front pad. The ball pitched outside leg stump spun and spun it did, beating the front pad, the back pad, the bat and hit the off stump. Gatting stood bamboozeled so did the world. It was “that ball”, the ball of the century as many say, the ball which signaled the arrival of Shane Keith Warne on the world stage. Few balls since then if any(if any, most of them have come out of the same hand) have beaten this one.

The Aftermath: Shane warne went on to collect 4 wickets in that innings, 8 in the match, 34 in the series, 72 in the year and 708 in his career. The aussies went on to win that series 4-1. Warne went on to win numerous series, a world cup and a man of the match award in a world cup final,but that ball signalled his arrival on the world stage

The Scorecard: http://www.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63609.html

The Video:
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