Warne does what's never been done
The ball pitched deep in the bowler's footholes. The batsman stuck his pad out and tried kicking it away. An absolute ripper, it spun back viciously, zipped past his front leg and crashed into the stumps. Sounds eerily familiar doesn't it? Well, this time it wasn't Mike Gatting - it was Andrew Strauss.
With that wicket, an uncannily similar one to his first in England, Shane Warne became the first bowler to take 100 Test wickets in a country other than his own. To take 100 wickets in England is an appropriate indicator of his dominance over the Ashes, a baiting game that began with Gatting and the ball-of-the century in 1993. Cricket has its own sense of irony: Warne has bamboozled England time and again, and yet he had been treated with utter disdain in the first innings, disappearing for 116 runs off 25 overs. Still he reaches this milestone in this manner - what a fitting riposte. (Click here for Warne's bowling statistics in England)
Warne became the highest wicket-taker in a foreign country when he trapped Ashley Giles plumb in front in the first innings, his 97th wicket in England. In doing so, he went past another England tormentor, Dennis Lillee, who has 96 Test scalps in England. Warne, with 334 away-wickets, heads the list of bowlers with most number of wickets abroad. His achievement is unique because he is the only spinner in the list of top ten bowlers with most away-wickets; Muttiah Muralitharan is 11th with 190 wickets. Looking at it from another angle 56.2% of Warne's 594 wickets have come on foreign soil.
|Bowler||Total wickets||Away wickets||% (Away wickets/total wickets)|
With the exception of Headingley, where Warne has just three wickets in as many Tests at an embarrassing average of 89.33, he has excelled at all other English venues, his haul of 17 wickets in two Tests at 14.59 at Old Trafford being his best. Warne's measure over England's batting is comprehensive. His mastery is most evident when you see that six top-order batsmen figure in the list of eight English batsmen dismissed most often by him.
|Batsman dismissed||No. of times|
Warne's unique record is unlikely to be matched or broken for quite a while because his competition have either retired or are a long way behind. He will look to add a lot more English wickets to his kitty during what, in all probability, is his last Ashes in England.
|Country||Highest overseas wicket-taker||Matches||Wickets|
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo. For some of the stats he was helped by Arun Gopalakrishnan from the Cricinfo Chennai office