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The fascinating story behind Shane Warne’s “Ball of the Century”

Twenty-eight years back Warne left cricket lovers all across the world bamboozled by balling the legendary “Ball of the Century” in the first Test of the Ashes.

The Ball of the Century or Gatting Ball

In the year 1993, during the first Test match of the Ashes Series, Old Trafford stadium stood witness to Shane Warne’s delivery that knocked out England’s Mike Gatting that made onlookers rub their eyes in disbelief. This delivery became immensely significant for cricket as it revived and opened the eyes of the world to the power of a leg-spin.

What was the background of the Test match?

Old Trafford’s pitch is a blessing for spinners and on that day, England turned up with their two finest spinners Phil Tufnell and talented debutant Peter Such. Australia had just one spinner who made his test debut just a year before and his career graph was not very spectacular. Critics were wary of his antiqued style of spinning, leg-spin which was not considered useful in modern cricket. When England won the toss and decided to bowl, things started looking bleak for the Aussies side. They however gave a tough fight but were all out at 289 runs. England came strong in retaliation and then their batsmen Mike Atherton was dismissed and Mike Gatting came out to play. Aussie captain decided to bring the novice Warne in for an over. Everyone expected a high score to come out the over as Gatting was notorious for giving spinners a really hard time.

The famous delivery that left the world stunned

After a few slow deliveries, Warne delivered a stunning leg-spin to Gatting. Due to what scientists call the “Magnus effect” the ball landed outside the line of the batsman’s leg stump. As any experienced batsman, Gatting too wanted the ball to either hit the pad or the bat to avoid dismissal. But the wonder ball passed from the edge of his bat then went straight to the top of the off-stump and blew off the bails. Everything was so sudden and unbelievable that even Gatting took a moment to register that he was bowled out and thus history was made that day.

Australian not only won the match but the series and the ball put Warne and the power of leg-spinning in the spotlight. The ball has also paved the way to the history of world domination by Australia in the history of cricket.

Priyadarshini Kaul

Priyadarshini Kaul Mishra has two Master’s Degrees in English Literature and History. She is actively following her passion for the language by being a content creator since many years now. Besides this, Priyadarshini is a true bookworm at heart and tries to be an avid reader despite being a full-time mother now. She is also a professionally certified baker and puts on the oven mitts every now and then.
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