Shane Warne bowling out Mike Gatting with his first ball in an England Ashes series in 1993.
Shane Warne bowling out Mike Gatting with his first ball in an England Ashes series in 1993.

It changed my life: The moment Warne bowled the Gatting ball

SHANE Warne to this day insists it was a "bit of a fluke", but that didn't stop the most famous delivery of all time - simply known as the "Gatting ball" - from changing his life forever.

Warne bowled it himself to England's Mike Gatting a quarter of a century ago, as a bleach-blonde-haired 23-year-old sending down his first delivery in an Ashes series on British soil.

The ball drifted in towards Gatting before pitching well outside leg-stump and breaking violently, past his straight bat and into the top of off-stump.

It would later be called "Ball of the Century", as it is still known today.

On the ball's 25th anniversary on Monday, Warne said he still feels the delivery was the best of his 708 Test wickets.

"That ball changed my life, on and off the field, completely. I feel humbled and flattered because people do say it was the best ball ever bowled in Test cricket, the ball of the century," Warne said.

"A first ball for a leg-spinner anywhere is never easy, so to bowl your best ever ball, right then, just shows it was meant to be."

Warne, 48, previously said he was nervous on the day and his aim was to just find his rhythm by bowling a couple of big leg breaks.

But he added that the delivery "felt really good" as soon as it left his hand, which was confirmed once he watched the replay from the middle of the ground while Gatting walked back to the England sheds in shock.

Warne’s delivery drifted in towards Gatting before pitching well outside leg-stump and breaking violently into the top of off-stump.
Warne’s delivery drifted in towards Gatting before pitching well outside leg-stump and breaking violently into the top of off-stump.

"It was the first series I played internationally with the big screens on the grounds. So we saw the replay of it, we're all gathered together next to the wicket, looking up, and I was like 'geez, that was pretty good'," Warne said.

He was reunited with Gatting behind the microphones earlier this year during the Ashes, where he thanked the former England batsman - who had built a reputation for playing spin well - for "missing a straight one".

"Warnie, if only it was a straight one," 60-year-old Gatting replied.

"I keep seeing this ball on TV and it's almost 25 years ago ... First ball anyone ever bowls at you, you don't expect him to turn it that much."

Warne revealed he once received a letter from Gatting and Graham Gooch, who was batting at the other end at the time, that wished him the best for his career.

"We talk about that ball and what it meant, and I think Mike Gatting and Graham Gooch showed a lot of class writing a young kid a letter. It meant a lot," he said.


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