Eight great moments in the career of Shane Warne, who died Friday at the age of 52.
COLOMBO COMEBACK, 1992
Before the Mike Gatting “Ball of the Century” there was the miracle in Colombo that truly announced Warne on the world stage. Chasing 181 for victory, Sri Lanka was cruising at 127-2 when Australia’s spinners came on. Greg Matthews took 4-37 and Warne 3-0 in his last 13 balls to win the match for Australia. Before that spell, in the second innings of his third test match, Warne had the career figures of 1-335. From there, Warne never looked back.
WEST INDIES MAYHEM, 1992-93
The moment most cricket fans realized the talent that had emerged. After missing the first test of the series, Warne took 7-52 in the second innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to bowl Australia to victory against the West Indies. The success doubles as Warne’s first match on his beloved MCG home ground, where he’d eventually take 56 test wickets.
THE GATTING BALL, 1993
Warne was the ultimate showman and he couldn’t have scripted it better himself. With his first delivery in a test match in England, Warne drifted the ball across the right-handed Mike Gatting, had it dip, pitch outside leg, spin enough to beat the bat and clip the top of off-stump. Gatting’s bemused face said it all.
THE HAT-TRICK, 1994-95
A month after destroying England again with figures of 8-71 in the first test at the Gabba in Brisbane, Warne claimed his famous hat-trick at the MCG when he removed Phil DeFreitas, Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm with three consecutive deliveries. Warne finished the series with 27 wickets.
WORLD CUP HEROICS, 1999
Three years after helping engineer a comeback to put Australia into the 1996 final, Warne was at it again. He took 3-3 from his first three overs of the semifinal after South Africa was in control at 48-0 in pursuit of 214, before coming back late to finish 4-29 in the famous tie. He was then man-of-the-match in the final, taking 4-33 against Pakistan to help Australia to a lopsided victory.
An often forgotten example of Warne’s dominance. In one of the most lop-sided series in history, Warne took 27 wickets at an average of 12.66. In doing so, he took almost half of the wickets available to him in the series and helped Australia wrap up a test inside two days in Sharjah.
ONE-MAN BAND, 2005
Australia’s only Ashes series loss of Warne’s career should have been a low point, but with Glenn McGrath in and out with injury the veteran legspinner truly stepped up to lead the bowling attack. He claimed 40 wickets at 19.92 for the series, the most by an Australian in a five-match Ashes series.
700TH WICKET, 2006-07
Warne scripted the perfect ending by announcing he would retire at summer’s end with Australia 3-0 up in the Ashes and himself on 699 wickets ahead of the MCG Boxing Day test. In the perfect farewell, Warne bowled Andrew Strauss to become the first to reach 700 test wickets before helping Australia to complete just the second 5-0 Ashes sweep in history. He also went past 1,000 international wickets in all forms of the game in his Sydney Cricket Ground farewell.