A delivery not clouded by mists of time

It is 25 years since Gatting was squared up by that Warne beauty

Mike Gatting is bowled by Shane Warne on June 3, 1993.   -  Getty Images

It was beautiful, yet carried with it the ‘kiss’ of death. The delivery drifted in a pronounced fashion to pitch outside leg and then spun across the bemused batsman to hit the off-stump.

Mike Gatting, a fine player of spin, was squared up and then taken out by this prodigious delivery, called by many as the “ball of the century.”

The day was June 4, 1993, exactly 25 years ago, when Shane Warne, the Wizard of Oz, whipped up magic in the Ashes Test at Old Trafford, Manchester.

That delivery had everything, revolutions that got the ball to spin in the air and drift, extraordinary control, and huge turn.

“Warnie was one of a kind, a freak,” said his illustrious teammate Glenn McGrath who formed an immortal pace-spin partnership with Warne, one in which pressure was created with precision and dismissals were planned with a high level of skill.

Actually, McGrath was not on the ground to witness the Warne monster to Gatting. “I was watching it from the Australian Cricket Academy, which was then in Adelaide.”

Warne, the leg-spin legend, was not daunted by conditions, said McGrath. “He felt if the ball seamed, then it would also turn. And then he could always get the ball to do things in the air and he really spun it.”

Years have passed, but Warne’s delivery to Gatting has not been clouded by the mists of time. It was a ball for all ages!

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