'Ball of the century' was a fluke: Warne

The legendary leg-spinner said his wonder ball to Mike Gatting in June 1993 was a fluke as he wasn't able to bowl another such delivery in his career.

Shane Warne took the cricket world by storm when he clean bowled England's Mike Gatting with a magical delivery at Old Trafford on day two of the first Test of the 1993 Ashes series in June 1993. The delivery not only set the tone for the remainder of that Ashes series but also kick-started Warne's magnificent career.

But, two decades after that astonishing dismissal - with his first ball in Test cricket in England - the Australian leg spin legend has admitted that he still sees the 'Gatting Ball' as a fluke. Warne said he felt fortunate to be part of the magical moment and that things went his way.Shane Warne in a 1994 file photo. (Getty Images)

"The whole 'Gatting ball' thing, I suppose everyone says it's the Ball of the Century etc, which is a pretty proud sort of thing. It's pretty cool and sort of makes me feel pretty humble about how lucky I was to be in that thing and how lucky it was to happen. He could have easily missed it or nicked it," Warne was quoted as saying in a Sydney Morning Herald report. "And I never did it again. It just shows you it really was a fluke, and it was meant to be."

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The delivery, which announced Warne to the world, pitched outside leg-stump and then spun viciously across the bemused Gatting to clip the top of the off-bail. Warne said he felt nervous in his run-up, but added he felt good as soon as he released the ball from his hand.

"I didn't realise, I don't think, until we looked up at the screen...I remember us all standing in the middle saying 'that was a pretty good ball'. Then I looked up and I went 'geez'," Warne said.

Gatting was on the wrong end of 'That Ball', but the former England captain, who is content to be central to this prominent episode in Ashes history, said the delivery changed the series. "It was one of those sort of things that possibly changed the series. There are lots of bits of folklore and to be part of it is always a pleasure."

Recalling the 'Ball of the Century' on its 20th anniversary last month, Gatting said, "I'm happy to have been bowled by it because had it been some blond bloke who only played about 10 Test matches and got 27 wickets, then I would have been really upset. As it was, he became the best spinner of all time, so you don't mind so much."

Former Australia leg spinner Richie Benaud, who was doing commentary when the delivery was bowled, remarked: "Gatting has absolutely no idea what has happened to him -- and he still doesn't know."

Warne, who was named Man of the Match, had match figures of 8 for 137 in the 1993 Old Trafford Test as Australia thumped England by 179 runs. Australia won the six-Test series 4-1 and Warne topped the bowling charts in the series with 34 wickets at an average of 25.79.

Warne said he was largely kept under wraps in the lead-up matches to the Test series, and was implored by then Australia captain Allan Border not to give any tricks away.

Both Warne and Gatting will feature in interviews on cricket.com.au from Tuesday as the first in a Cricket Australia digital series chronicling 13 great Ashes moments.

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