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Shane Warne's top 3 spells in Test cricket

Shane Warne during 2006 Ashes series
Shane Warne during 2006 Ashes series

It is almost impossible to believe that Shane Warne, one of the greatest cricketers to play the game has passed away due to a suspected heart attack. Warne came into the Test arena when pace bowling dominated the world and left the sport in 2006 as the greatest Test bowler ever to have played the game.

The Aussie's charismatic energy, hunger to make a difference, absolute resilience, and remarkable courage made him the first bowler to cross 700-mark in Test wickets.

Warne was not a subcontinent spinner and knew the limitations that came with the "Australian spin-bowler" tag. He would add a lot of pressure on while releasing the ball, which helped him produce more in-air drift, spin and baffle batters from all ends.

Simply can't believe we are writing this.RIP Shane Warne, one of the game's best characters and finest bowlers.Forever etched in Ashes history ✍️ https://t.co/A2jOWPt6L5

It is difficult to pick the best bowling spells from a career that spanned over 14 years, 6784 overs, and 708 Test wickets. Yet, there were moments in which Shane Warne was almost near-perfect. Let's look at three such spells in Warne's career.

#3 Shane Warne's dream Ashes debut in 1993

When he arrived in England to play the 1993 Ashes, Warne has already made a decent start to his Test career with almost 30 wickets in 18 innings. His best figures at the time was 7/52 against West Indies at the MCG. However, the England media dismissed Warne, saying there was "nothing special" about him.

#OnThisDay in 1993: Shane Warne. Mike Gatting. Ball of the Century.(📹 @lancscricket)https://t.co/yhZS2FBWqE

But the magic began when Allan Border threw the ball towards Warne. The spinner bowled Mike Gatting while bowling from outside the leg stump to clip the top of the off-stump.

The amount of spin the ball produced and the sheer disbelief on Gatting's face made that moment historic. Warne then claimed three more wickets, finishing with figures of 4/51 in his debut Ashes innings. He also took four more wickets in the second innings to win the Man of the Match to complete a dream debut.

#2 6/86 Against South Africa in Durban, 2006

In the tricky South African conditions and with very little assistance from the other end, Warne produced one of the most thrilling bowling spells to win the match for Australia in 2006.

The 37-year-old, who had aged finer than wine, produced a remarkable spell of 6/86 spell on Day 5 at Durban against a batting lineup that consisted of Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Ab de Villiers, and Jacques Rudolph, all in their prime.

Even the weather gods wanted to witness Warne's magic as he claimed his 35th five-wicket haul in tests.

Cannot believe it. One of the greatest spinners, the man who made spin cool, superstar Shane Warne is no more. Life is very fragile, but this is very difficult to fathom. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and fans all around the world. https://t.co/f7FUzZBaYX

#1 Warne's career-best spell of 8/71 against England in 1994

When England arrived in Brisbane for the Ashes Down Under in 1994, Warne had already risen to new heights with over 100 wickets under his belt. He also had a few great spells in Pakistan and South Africa.

Warne's variations and his newly discovered flippers did not give England a chance to play for a draw in the Brisbane Test. Barring a fightback by Graeme Hick and Graham Thorpe, no Englishman could defend Warne consistently as he ripped through the team's batting lineup. Warne's 8-wicket haul against England was definitely his best spell in Test cricket.

Honorable mention

Shane Warne became the first bowler to reach 700-mark in Tests with an excellent 5/39 spell on Boxing Day in his final Ashes series in 2006 at the MCG. This spell was Warne's 37th and last five-wicket spell in his glorious test career.

Also Read: Australia cricket legend Shane Warne dies at 52

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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