The Heavy Ball

This, that and the other. Mostly the other

Stuart and Ash

MW Gatting b Warne 4

In the first of a new series that revisits iconic cricket moments, we bring you the ball of the century

Alex Bowden

Comments: 3 | Text size: A | A
Mike Gatting is bowled by Shane Warne, England v Australia, 1st Test, Old Trafford, June 4, 1993
Shaun Wayne strikes © Getty Images
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Over the years, the greatest moments in cricket have frequently been enhanced by fine commentary. Two consummate professionals who you may not have heard of have covered some of the most memorable matches in history, and ESPNcricinfo is now proud to bring their words to a wider audience. These sporting moments may be familiar, but we think you'll agree that the contributions of these master practitioners elevate the action still further.

Stuart: 80 for 1 and Australia bring Shane Warne into the attack. What will Shaun be looking to do here, Ash?

Ash: He'll be looking to put it in the right areas; build some pressure.

Stuart: And how should England counter him?

Ash: They'll want to get on top of him early doors.

Stuart: Should they take a few deliveries, bide their time, see how much the ball's turning?

Ash: No, Stu, they want to get after him. Australia are behind the eight ball and a few Global Banking Incorporated Sixers will put them on the back foot. At the end of the day, as a batting unit, if you put the opposition bowling unit on the back foot, behind the eight ball, you're in the box seat.

Stuart: Interesting insights, Ash.

Ash: Yeah, they want to keep the foot on the throat and turn the screw.

Stuart: Wayne stands at his mark. At what better ground could a spinner make his Ashes debut? Old Trafford, where the great James Laker took 19 wickets in 1956. A day when I had a particularly delicious slice of battenburg cake, if memory serves - and my memory is particularly reliable, if I do say so myself.

Ash: We've got battenburg today, Stu. You're not confusing 1956 with today again, are you?

Stuart: My dear boy, I fear you may be correct. We do have battenburg today and indeed it is that particular cake I was thinking of. I thought I was benefiting from a Proustian rush as a result of the flavour, but actually all I was remembering was what was happening at this very moment.

Ash: It was the empty plate in front of you that tipped me off.

Stuart: Anyway, Shane Wayne runs in to bowl to Graham Gatting.

Ash: Gone!

Stuart: What, the battenburg?

Ash: No, Gatting.

Stuart: Oh, my dear boy, you're quite right. Graham Gooch, sorry Greenidge, sorry Gatting. Graham Gatting has been given out lbw for - what was his score? I'll get you his score in a moment, but he was dismissed lbw to Wayne and I must say, Ash, that was a terrible decision, the ball pitched way outside leg and…

Ash: I think it was bowled actually, Stu.

Stuart: Bowled? Are you sure? Oh, yes, terribly sorry. I'm just watching the replay here and he was indeed bowled. Graham Greenidge, sorry Gooch, was bowled by Shaun Wayne for… Oh look! Is that an owl?

Ash: I think it's a magpie, actually, Stuart. Either way, I hope it banks with our sponsors Global Banking Incorporated.

Stuart: An exquisite delivery from the Australian. How do you assess the state of the game now, Ash?

Ash: Well, the English lads are behind the eight ball now, Stu. The batters need to shift the momentum, put the Aussie bowling unit under pressure.

Stuart: How should they set about this task?

Ash: They want to hit a few Global Banking Incorporated Sixers, Stu.

Stuart: I think, for my part, I might set about the task of polishing off this battenburg, Ash. The taste of it takes me right back to 1956, when a young Shane Laker bowled Jim Gatting with an extraordinary delivery. Did I ever tell you about that?

RSS FeedAlex Bowden blogs at King Cricket.
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

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Comments: 3 
Posted by C.Knight on (October 25, 2011, 20:56 GMT)

Hilarious stuff, Alex. I had a hard time controlling my giggles in my office. Keep it up.

Posted by Stos on (October 25, 2011, 16:43 GMT)

'Wow, look at that Enron blimp. Its beauty is exquisite.' In any case, good stuff.

Posted by 9ST9 on (October 25, 2011, 9:21 GMT)

(yawn) oh i need to type 25 characters.

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