Variations key to combating Eng: Warne
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Variations key to combating Eng: Warne

"I didn't bowl three leg spinners in a row. They were all different. I also used variations from the crease," said the Aussie spinner.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2005 19:02 IST

Shane Warne dominated the opening day of the final Ashes Test on Thursday through a virtuoso display of leg spin on a pitch offering nothing to the bowlers coupled with the sheer force of his personality.

Introduced into the attack less than an hour into the fifth and deciding Test, after England captain Michael Vaughan had won what seemed a crucial toss, the blond Australian took five of the seven wickets to fall on a flawless late summer's day.

Warne, whose feats during a series acclaimed as the greatest in history have confirmed his own place as the best spin bowler ever, finished with five for 118 from 34 bewitching overs to put his side marginally in front.

Using all the skills refined over an astonishing career which has gathered him a world record 616 wickets, the man from Ferntree Gully put an immediate break on the scoring after Marcus Trescothick had threatened to take control.

He dismissed the England left hander, nibbling a delivery to first slip, induced England captain Michael Vaughan to scoop an ugly shot to mid-wicket before accounting for the hapless Ian Bell lbw for a duck to what appeared to be a straight delivery.

Warne soldiered on during a hot afternoon session when Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flintoff were again taking the game England's way before capturing two wickets after tea for his 31st five-wicket haul in Tests.

With the exception of one long hop and another full toss, each of Warne deliveries posed a different challenge.

Subtle variations

To counter the friendly pitch, Warne pushed his deliveries through faster; following an orthodox leg spinner with another adding a bit of over-spin and then a third with extra side spin.

Unusually he also bowled four or five googlies in his ceaseless quest to keep the batsmen guessing.

"I decided to bowl them," he told a news conference. "They came out all right. The pitch was flat, it was really flat."

Warne said he had instantly concluded that "subtle variations" would be the key to combating the pitch and the England batsmen, who have played positive cricket throughout the series against the man who has tormented them for the past 12 years without ever managing to master him.

"I didn't bowl three leg spinners in a row," he said. "They were all different. I also used variations from the crease."

"The guys put pressure on them from the other end. It (the pitch) is going to start spinning. The odd one is already spinning."

Strauss, who scored his second century of the series to anchor the England innings, said he had been forced to battle hard throughout by Warne.

"Every time you face him it's a massive challenge," he said. "He's been awesome through the series and today was no exception. He came on early and he got the ball to skid."

First Published: Sep 09, 2005 12:55 IST