A stunning delivery from England leg spinner Adil Rashid has sent the cricket world into a frenzy, with many comparing it to Shane Warne’s “ball of the century”.
Debate is raging as to whether Rashid’s dismissal of India’s KL Rahul on day five of the fifth Test at The Oval in London was a superior delivery to that produced by Warne back in 1993.
India was chasing a mammoth target of 464 for victory and the tourists were travelling nicely at 5-325, with opener Rahul – unbeaten on 149 – on strike to Rashid.
What followed next left not only Rahul shocked but also spectators and a massive TV audience, with live coverage going back to cricket-mad India.
Rashid, bowling around the wicket to Rahul, pitched his delivery well outside leg and into the rough, hoping to make the most of the deteriorating wicket.
The ball spun back out of the rough, as Rahul went on the back foot looking to defend, and hit off stump to leave the Indian batsman bamboozled.
It was immediately proclaimed as a “Shane Warne ball” by England cricketing great Geoffrey Boycott, who was commentating for the BBC.
England players immediately surrounded Rashid to celebrate, with Rahul staring back at the stumps in bewilderment, offering a similar reaction to Mike Gatting when he was bowled by Warne 25 years ago.
Warne made himself known on the international stage with his maiden delivery in a Test against England.
He stunningly dismissed Gatting at Old Trafford during the opening Test of the Ashes series with what became known as the “ball of the century” and what was described at the time by Richie Benaud as “the most beautiful delivery”.
‘Wow, that’s the ball of this century’
BBC commentator Jonathan Agnew, when interviewing Rashid after the match, marvelled at the England tweaker’s performance.
“People are already talking about it, ‘Wow, that’s the ball of this century’, I don’t how he was supposed to have played that, it went miles,” Agnew said.
A modest Rashid explained he was just trying to make the most of the fifth-day pitch conditions.
“I had a simple plan. I was trying to spin it hard into the rough with some variations,” Rashid said.
<br /> Lucky for me that spun quite a bit and hit the top of off [stump], which was good.”
Twitter went into a spin as to whether Rashid’s delivery trumped that of Warne’s in 1993.
🍒25 years on from the Ball of the Century
— The Cricket Paper (@TheCricketPaper) June 8, 2018
Rahul’s wicket proved crucial to England, breaking a 204-run partnership between him and another century maker Rishabh Pant.
Rashid then removed Pant (114) two overs later and the hosts eventually dismissed India for 345 to record a 118-run victory.
James Anderson took the final Indian wicket of Mohammed Shami to become the most successful fast bowler in Test history with 564 dismissals to surpass the previous mark set by Australian great Glenn McGrath.