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Ashes 2005 my best Test series: Warne

"This series has probably been the most fascinating and entertaining cricket in my 15 years of playing," he said.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2005 15:50 IST

Australia leg spinner Shane Warne said on Tuesday the 2005 Ashes was the best Test series he had played in throughout his career.

Speaking at a media conference before the start of the fifth and final Test starting on Thursday, Warne said that it was the first time in his four tours to England that the game at The Oval would decide the outcome of the series.

"It's basically a one-Test series now, irrespective of what has happened -- if we win, we retain the Ashes, if England win they regain them."

"It's uncharted waters for both sides. For us, every time we have come here (in 1993, 1997 and 2001) basically the Ashes have been over."

"It's the first time that The Oval counts for something in my time on my fourth tour. That's a good thing. No one wants to see easy cricket or whitewashes."

"Unfortunately this sort of series doesn't come along all the time. This series has probably been the most fascinating and entertaining cricket in my 15 years of playing."

England lead the series 2-1 after losing the opening Test at Lord's. Australia have held the Ashes since 1989.

The 35-year-old Warne, whose marriage broke up just before the series, has taken 28 wickets at 19.67 runs apiece -- more wickets than anybody else in the series and at a lower average -- and has also averaged more than 31 with the bat while going in at number eight.

"For me personally, it's probably been my best ever series I have ever played, with the bat and ball I think my numbers have been pretty good. But it's down to five days now, all that is irrelevant."

Warne, who also became the first man in history to pass 600 test wickets during the series, said he was confident that fast bowler Glenn McGrath, who is struggling with an elbow problem, would be fit for The Oval.

Australia have consistently said that England were the team under pressure, even after they levelled at Edgbaston and then took the series lead after the fourth Test at Trent Bridge.

Warne, however, changed his tune on Tuesday.

"I thought the pressure was on England in the last Test match because they knew that all we had to do was win one of the last two Test matches," he said. "But they performed well."

"Now the pressure is on us, as far as I'm concerned. If we don't perform well we'll have lost the Ashes for the first time in nearly 20 years."

"But the guys will see it as a challenge, they won't fear it," said the Aussie spinner.

First Published: Sep 07, 2005 15:50 IST