Shane Warne’s greatest moments from Gatting ball to World Cup glory

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Shane Warne’s death at the age of 52 has shocked the cricket world. After an extraoridnary playing career the man known as ‘The King’ stepped effortlessly into the commentary box and delivered opinions with as much bite as the leggies he’d thrown down for years.

But it was on the field where Warne was at his best, and here are the greatest of those moments.


Before the Gatting ball there was the miracle in Colombo that truly announced Warne on the world stage. Chasing 181 for victory, Sri Lanka were cruising at 2-127. Enter Australia’s spinners. Greg Matthews took 4-37 and Warne snapped up 3-0 in his last 13 balls to win the match for Australia, even though the youngster had the unwanted career figures of 1-335 before being handed the ball. From there, Warne never looked back. 

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The moment most Australian fans realised the talent that had just emerged. After missing the first Test of the series, Warne took 7-52 in the second innings at the MCG to bowl Australia to victory against the might of the West Indies. The success doubles as Warne’s first match on his beloved home ground, where he’d eventually take 56 Test wickets.


Warne was the ultimate showman and he couldn’t have scripted it better himself. With his first Test delivery in England, he drifted the ball across the right-hander, had it dip, pitch outside leg, spin enough to beat the bat and claim the top of off-stump. Gatting’s bemused face said it all and from that moment on England were deer in Warne’s headlights.

Shane Warne of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of Mike Gatting

Shane Warne’s ‘Ball of the Century’ – arguably the greatest delivery bowled in Ashes cricket. (Photo by Rui Vieira/EMPICS via Getty Images)

THE HAT-TRICK, 1994-95

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A month after destroying England again with 8-71 in the first Test at the Gabba, Warne claimed his famous hat-trick at the MCG when he removed Phil DeFreitas, Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm in three straight balls. Warne finished the series with 27 wickets at 20.33.


Three years after helping engineer a comeback to put Australia into the 1996 decider, Warne was at it again. He took 3-3 from his first three overs after South Africa were in control at 0-48 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 as Australia lifted the trophy.


An oft-forgotten example of Warne’s dominance. In one of the most one-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.

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Australia’s only Ashes loss of Warne’s career should have spelled a low point, but with Glenn McGrath in and out with injury the legspinner truly stepped up. He claimed 40 wickets at 19.92 for the series, the most by an Australian in a five-match Ashes. His ball to bowl Andrew Strauss in front of his pads is arguably better than the Gatting ball 12 years earlier.

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 Strauss to become the first to reach 700 wickets before helping Australia to just the second 5-0 Ashes whitewash in history. Not content with that, he also went past 1000 international wickets in all forms of the game in his SCG swansong.

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