“Never, perhaps, has one delivery cast so long a shadow over a game, or a series.” - Wisden.
June 4, 1993. A blonde leg-spinner playing in his first Ashes Test, stood at the start of his run-up, tossing the ball between his hands. He had a reputation. Whispers around this genuine talent had already begun. At the batting crease was Mike Gatting, a man known for his ability to attack spin bowlers.
What happened next would change to art of leg spin bowling forever.
Shane Keith Warne, a 23-year-old young punk, strolled to the bowling crease, with a lazy run-up, before jumping into a final flourish. His wrists then imparted crazy revolutions on the ball, that started drifting in the air with the trajectory reserved for inswingers under overcast skies. The ball then lands outside leg-stump, spins viciously past Gatting’s attempt at blocking it, and hits the top of the off-stump.
How about that for your first ball in the Ashes?
The reactions to that dismissal tell a story. Gatting is visibily stunned, shaking his head in wonderment as he slowly starts to walk off. Ian Healy, the keeper, is jumping in joy at what he has just witnessed with the best seat in the house. And Warne, delighted.
“How anyone can spin a ball the width of Gatting boggles the mind. If it had been a cheese roll, it would never have got past him,” Graham Gooch said.
It truly was one of the greatest moments in cricket.
Watch, as we recreate that magical delivery for you:
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