Sri Lanka v Australia, 1st Test, Galle, 5th day

'I don't think I could have bowled better' - Warne

Charlie Austin

March 12, 2004

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Shane Warne became the first spinner in the history of the game to reach the 500-wicket mark as he tore apart the Sri Lankan batting order. Here is what he and Ricky Ponting, whose first Test as captain proved triumphant, had to say after the match:



Shane Warne: 'I couldn't have written a better script for myself' © Getty Images
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Shane Warne
On his comeback: I was just happy. Obviously from where I have been in 13 to 14 years of playing cricket and to where I have been in the last 12 months, I was pretty happy to get selected in the touring party after just one game. The selectors thought I had a role to play and showed faith in me.

On he performance in this match: The way I bowled in this game I thought I got better and better. I was very happy with the way it came out today. I don't think I could have bowled much better.

On reaching 500 wickets: To get my 500th wicket was a bonus and to get 10 wickets as well - I couldn't have written a better script for myself. To come out and do what I did today and win a Test match was a very big achievement and I feel very proud of myself.

On the support he got on his comeback: I wouldn't have been able to get there without the faith of Ricky Ponting, who got me on straightaway and made me bowl a lot of overs, and the support of all the players over the last 12 months. I feel very happy. Nice to have my parents here and I wouldn't have been able to be here without my friends who have been getting me through the last 12 months. This is probably dedicated to those guys, my friends and my family, who have supported me through a big 12 months. It has been a pretty unbelievable 12 months and to get back to where I am today is a fairytale.

On his second spell when he approached the 500-wicket mark: I felt remarkably calm to be honest, and there was nothing going through my head saying 'come on, you've got to get it' or anything like that. I just knew there were a few wickets to get and every time I want to take as many wickets as I can.

On bowling with Stuart MacGill: I suppose that Stuart MacGill and I are going to play a big part in this series if they keep producing wickets like that. Hopefully this shows that we can both bowl together. The previous times we played together I was not at my best, coming back from my shoulder injury. Now I am fresh and bowling well and if he continues to bowl well like he has been, we can form a good partnership together and cause a lot of dramas for the Sri Lankan batsmen.

On Sri Lanka's performance: They have some fine players but I thought we bowled really well. There weren't many bad shots but there were plenty of good deliveries and some good catching. I thought it [the pitch] was going to fall apart a lot earlier than it did, but it held together pretty well.

On the team's comeback: This is a remarkable achievement if you look at where we were in this [Test]. That third day when we got 4 for 29 really changed it. Then for Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn and Darren Lehmann to bat throughout the day when the wicket was turning so much was an outstanding achievement.

Ricky Ponting
On his side's bowling: We played really well and the line Warney [Shane Warne] and Stuy [Stuart MacGill] bowled was pretty good. Although we batted till pretty late yesterday we knew that we could create about 10 chances today and we created them early on. Hats off to the bowlers and more importantly hats of to the batsmen in these conditions.

On the team's comeback: As it was going along we said that we needed to score as many in our second innings as they did in their first innings. The longer they batted it was going to be difficult for us, but we did well to get those wickets early on the third morning for not many runs. That gave us a bit of a sniff in the game. From there on, we played some really outstanding cricket that you probably haven't seen Australia do for a long long time in these sort of conditions.

On the difference between the batting in the two innings: If you look at the first innings, the fact that we didn't bat for time cost us. We didn't take that many risks in the second innings; even if we did they were pretty calculated. Three guys got out sweeping as well in the first innings and we didn't make the most of a pretty good batting wicket. It just stayed a pretty good batting wicket throughout the game, but we just didn't bat well enough in the first innings.

On the conditions: When we came here the day before the game we knew that the spinners were going to get a bagful of wickets. Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] got a bagful and Warni [Shane Warne] got a bagful. Probably more than what Warni expected, I guess, to get in his first match. As I said the conditions were tailormade for him and he made the most of it and bowled really well.

On the manner in which he bowled his two legspinners: You just need to use them at the right time and be a bit smarter. Today we could have bowled them together as long as we liked. Early wickets meant there wasn't the chance of them getting closer to our runs. They both are great legspin bowlers and they both bowled well in this game.

On Warne's performance: You couldn't have asked for anything more than that. Ten wickets and a good economy rate throughout the game. It was an outstanding comeback as well. He knew he was bowling pretty well. He knew the ball was coming out of his hand pretty well. As he said, he's as fit as he has ever been. I think that showed up in the way he held up right throughout this game.

On Warne's feat: He had a bit of emotion coming out. It's been a long time coming for him, obviously having the break that he's had. The guys are over the moon and a bit awestruck I guess with what just happened. Someone taking 500 wickets is an unbelievable achievement. We'll celebrate it tonight.

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Charlie Austin Sri Lanka editor When Charlie Austin left for Sri Lanka after graduating from Sussex University, he was a planning a winter's cricket in the tropics and a six-month stint with an environmental NGO. His mother's worst fears were soon realised when it became clear that he had fallen in love with the island. Six months have now become eight years and Colombo has become his home. He joined Cricinfo in February 2000 and now heads operations in Sri Lanka, responsible for both sales and editorial. He is also the director of a UK-based travel company called Red Dot Tours, and is currently ghosting Muttiah Muralitharan's autobiography.
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