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4th June 1993- Shane Warne: Ball of the Century

On 4th June 1993, Shane Warne delivered a brilliant Leg Break, later titled ' Ball of the 20th century ' against Mike Gatting in Ashes which brought back the leg spin trend.

Last updated: 04.06.2019
Shane Warne Ball of the Century | Sports Social Blog

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In 1993 Ashes, the first test was played at Old Trafford in Manchester from 3rd June. However, there was one single incident on day 2, on 4th June which changed the history of the game forever. One delivery from a chubby, blond leg spinner made the leg spin trendy and relevant again.

During the ’70s and ’80s, fast bowling was the in thing. West Indies were the most successful team who frequently played with four fast bowlers and no prominent spinners. For other countries also spinners were not much successful and did not play for long. But thing started to change from the early ’90s. There was the bespectacled, serious gentleman from India, Anil Kumble, for Pakistan there was Mushtaq Ahmed, a little guy who modelled his action on Abdul Qadir. And then there was Shane Warne!


Warne made his debut during India’s tour of Australia in 1991-92. His analysis in his first test was 1 for 150 as Ravi Shastri and a young Sachin Tendulkar made merry. He got few more chances and his match-winning spell in Sri Lanka made him a permanent in the Australian line-up. Still, the spark was missing. He had a fairly successful home series against West Indies where he took 7 for 52 in the Boxing Day test match at Melbourne. After a short and successful tour of New Zealand, Warne was on the UK bound flight.

Mike Gatting was one of the key English batsmen and a master player of spin. He was famous for his big shots against the spinners and had a good record against them. On 4th June 1993, After Australia posted 289, Gatting came to bat with England on 71 for 1. Immediately after, Warne was called to the bowling crease. Gatting was on 4, England 80 for 1 and Warne was standing at top of his mark. Nervous but confidently redying himself for his first ball in an Ashes test match. Finally, Warne started his run up and delivered the ball. It was a vicious leg break which dipped and pitched outside leg stump and then kicked sharply and turned to hit the top of the off stump. Ian Healy was ecstatic and jumped in joy. Warne did a fist pump and Gatting was crestfallen. He could not realize what was happening and then once he realized what had actually happened there was no other option to accept his fate, appreciate the delivery and walking back to the pavilion.

In the next 14 odd years, Shane Warne would take 194 more wickets against England but the fame he got with his first one was unparallel. A brilliant leg break executed brilliantly to rightly get the title of the ‘Ball of the 20th century’!

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