700 within reach for Shane Warne
After his fifth day heroics in Adelaide, Warne is poised on 694 Test wickets and sure to reach the milestone during the Ashes series.india Updated: Dec 13, 2006 18:29 IST
The forecast of a spin-friendly WACA wicket could see champion Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne become the first bowler to claim 700 Test wickets during the third Ashes Test.
After his fifth day heroics in Adelaide, Warne is poised on 694 Test wickets and sure to reach the milestone during the series.
While Warne would like to reach the mark in front of his home crowd at the MCG in the fourth Test, starting on December 26, he could do so at the WACA when the third Test starts here tomorrow.
The pitch has long been regarded as the home of fast bowling but has been increasingly helpful to spinners in recent seasons.
Warne has generally struggled at the WACA, with 32 wickets in 11 Tests at 37.28, well below his career record.
He also struggled in Perth earlier this season, taking 1-113 for Victoria against Western Australia in a match during which his frustration built to a point where he bowled consecutive bouncers.
Warne's best Test haul in Perth is six wickets, a figure he has achieved three times, including last year against South Africa, but this season the leading wicket-taker at the venue is local left-arm finger spinner Aaron Heal by a good margin.
Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, who said Warne was a like a "vulture circling" on the final day of the second Test in Adelaide, doubted it would be a traditionally fast and bouncy wicket.
"The results prove spin has worked," Gilchrist said here today of the WACA.