Crane takes comfort in Warne's Test debut
Sydney, Jan 5 (AFP) Young English leg-spinner Mason Crane was encouraged by his first bowling stint in Test cricket here today and is hoping for a better return than legendary Shane Warne's unflattering Test debut.
Crane, who at 20 is the youngest specialist spinner to play for England in 90 years, made a creditable start to his Test cricket career with figures of no wicket for 58 off 17 overs on the second day.
The Hampshire youngster had the daunting task of bowling to Australia's prolific scorers Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja, but he stuck to his guns and was unlucky not to snare a wicket.
Crane, who took five wickets bowling for New South Wales in a domestic Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground last year, takes encouragement from Warne's one for 150 on his Test debut against India at the SCG in 1992.
Warne went on to become the greatest Test leg-spinner with 708 wickets, second only to Sri Lankan world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan's 800.
"I'm hoping for slightly better figures (than Warne's)," Crane told reporters.
"At the end of the day that's how it goes, he turned into a great bowler and I'm sure it was character building for him."
Crane, who has been coached by another Australian leg- spin great Stuart MacGill, said he had been very nervous when called on to bowl his first over in the final Sydney Ashes Test.
"It was awesome. Naturally I was a little bit nervous, but I was also really excited. I had great fun out here and I can't wait until tomorrow," he said.
Crane said MacGill had helped him deal with the pressures of playing in his first Test match.
"He told me I would be nervous when I was called on to bowl and that's very natural," he said.
"It was about dealing with that and focusing on the keys that make me bowl my best."
Crane had a couple of chances, but he was level-headed about his performance before almost 44,000 fans at the SCG.
"There were periods where we had a couple of inside edges that didn't quite get to short leg or to slip, but that happens," he said.
"That's the game and you keep plugging away and hopefully they go my way tomorrow."
Crane said Steve Smith, unbeaten on 44 at the close and chasing his fourth century in the series, was the key wicket for England.
"He's got out four times in this series, he's playing it very well, he's seeing it very well but he's only human so we'll keep plugging away tomorrow and hopefully get him out," Crane said.
"He's a key player for them. I feel if we can get him out and we can take a couple more wickets then we can hopefully get a first innings lead