Australia's legendary Leg Spinner Shane Warne celebrates his 50th birthday on Friday. Born on September 13, 1969, the leg-break bowler is arguably the best spinner the game has ever witnessed. Known as the King of Spin, Warne's turning deliveries have tormented the batsman throughout his career. The leggie has turned the table into the team's favour on many occasions and thus was a vital cog in the Australia team, which ruled World Cricket. In the 1993 Ashes, Warne bowled a magical delivery to Matt Gatting, which rattled the batsman and later got recognised as the 'Ball of the Century'. Shane Warne Made Coach of Lord’s Based Team for Inaugural Edition of ‘The Hundred’ Cricket Tournament.
The spin wizard made his international debut in January 1992 and embittered the opposition batsman for 16 years. Warne has represented Australia in 145 Tests, in which he took a whooping 708 wickets which are second-most for any bowler in the longest format. Talking about the ODIs, Warne has played 194 ODI in which he scalped 293 wickets. The leggie also played a vital role in guiding Australia to the 1999 World Cup and many Ashes series. So, on the occasion of Warne’s 50th birthday, let’s have a look at his five best spells bowled by the leg-spinner in international cricket. Shane Warne, Mark Waugh, Aakash Chopra Fuming About the Umpiring Standards During Ashes 2019 Day 1.
8/71 Against England in Brisbane
The spin wizard bowled a splendid spell in the first Test of Ashes 1994 and set a great tone for the series. In the wicket that was favouring the pacers, Warne showcased his master class and the England batsman got trailed by spin. After scalping three wickets in England’s first innings, Shane Warne bettered his tally by taking eight wickets in the last innings of the match. Courtesy the spinner’s stellar spell, Australia won the match by 184 runs.
6/48 Against England in Manchester
England’s heads were high after dismissing Australia for 235 runs in the first innings of the third Test of Ashes 1997. However, Warne bowled a magnificent spell and shattered England’s hopes. The stalwart took six wickets and England were bundled out for 162 in the first innings. Warne took three more wickets in the last innings of the match and the visitors won the clash by a massive margin of 268 runs.
6/86 Against South Africa in Durban
The leggie aged like fine wine and was as lethal at the end of his career as he was in his prime. In the second Test of Australia’s 2006 Tour of South Africa, Warne’s bowled a match-winning spell and the Proteas were defeated in their own den. After taking just two wickets in the first innings, Warne delivered a magnificent five-fer in the last innings and Australia won the match by 112 runs.
4/29 Against South Africa in Birmingham
The 1999 World Cup semi-final between Australia and South Africa might be remembered for the famous last-over gaffe but the match was greatly affected by Warne’s impeccable bowling effort. The leggie bowled a tight line and length, and scalped four wickets while giving just 29 runs. Warne’s effort proved fruitful as Australia advanced to the final despite the match ending in a tie. That's because the Aussies finished above South Africa in the group stage.
4/33 Against Pakistan in London
After just escaping a defeat in the semi-final, Australia completely dominated Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup final. Warne followed his four-fer in the semi-finals with another four-wicket haul in the final. The Pakistan batsman looked completely clueless against Warne’s turning deliveries and got bundled out for 132 in the first innings which proved to be a bread & butter chase for the Aussies as they won the match by eight wickets and lifted the title.
Apart from the international glory, Warne also guided Rajasthan Royals to the title in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League. Warne decided to hang up his boots in 2008 and many batsmen around the world got a breather. After Warne’s retirement, Nathan Lyon continued his legacy and has been magnificent in Tests.