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Warne's highs

December 21, 2006

  • Bowled the "ball of the century", which is now part of cricket folklore. Playing his first Test in England (at Old Trafford) with Mike Gatting on strike, Warne's first ball pitched well outside leg-stump and Gatting, one of the best players of spin bowling in the English side, responded by thrusting his left leg forward and to the leg side, and pushing his bat next to his pad to cover the spin of the ball and defend it away.

    Like most experienced batsmen, he would have expected this tactic to be perfectly safe - the ball pitching outside leg would rule out any possible leg before wicket decision, and if the ball spun more than expected his bat would be there to defend it.The ball, however, bit into the pitch and spun far more sharply away from Gatting (towards the off side) than normally seen in England, deviating from its pre-bounce trajectory by an astonishing amount. It passed the outside edge of Gatting's bat and clipped the top of his off stump, clean bowling him.

    As Warne and his team mates jumped up in celebration, Gatting stood nonplussed for a few seconds, unsure what all of the fuss was about, until he finally realised that the ball had somehow hit his wicket. In a memorable image, Gatting simply stared in amazement for several seconds, before accepting his fate and walking off the field. Television images showed Gatting, as he walked off the field, shaking his head repeatedly with an expression of sheer disbelief on his face.

  • Was chosen as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year for 1994.

  • Was named by a 100-member panel of experts as the fourth of five Wisden Cricketers of the Century in 2000. Warne received 27 votes, behind Sir Donald Bradman (100 votes), Sir Garfield Sobers (90 votes), and Sir Jack Hobbs (30 votes). Sir Viv Richards took the fifth place, with 25 votes. He is the only Wisden Cricketer of the Century who has not been knighted.

  • Played a significant role in Australia’s World Cup victory in 1996, winning the semi-final against West Indies at Mohali on his own.

  • Is one of two Australian cricketers currently playing the game to have been named in "Richie Benaud's Greatest XI" in 2004 (Adam Gilchrist was the other).

  • Was named as winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality for his performance in the 2005 Ashes. (Warne took 40 wickets at an average of 19.92 in the series and scored 249 runs prompting some to comment that he could now make a justifiable claim to being a great all-rounder).

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    Also read: What the experts say about Warne

    Statistics: Rajneesh Gupta
    Photograph: Getty Images

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