Shane Warne, the legendary Australian spinner, has died at the age of 52.
The leg-spinner played four Test matches at The Oval in his career and still holds the record as the leading wicket taker from any nation other than England in Test matches played at The Oval with 32. He sits five ahead of the next closest overseas bowler – Michael Holding with 27.
Steve Elworthy, Chief Executive of Surrey County Cricket Club, said: “Shane Warne was a genius and The Oval was lucky to have played host to some of his finest moments.
“Grounds like The Kia Oval are built to showcase the genius of players like Shane Warne. The game of cricket is a poorer place without him. Everyone at the Club’s thoughts are with his family, friends and fans.”
His Oval average of 22.25 is significantly lower than all other prolific wicket takers in the modern era, with only previous generations of bowlers like Tony Lock, Jim Laker & Fred Trueman having a more impressive return.
Outside of Test cricket, he played three further first-class matches on our ground; one for Australians against Surrey in 1993 and two for Hampshire in 2000 and 2007. He also played two ODIs and two further List A matches here, taking four wickets.
An outstanding talent capable of deliveries most other bowlers could hardly conceive of, Warne was made for the big stage and sense of occasion that an Oval Test match always brings.
Here we’ll take a look at the four Tests Warne played at The Oval from 1993 through to 2005.
1993 – 2/70 & 3/78 as England won by 161 runs
The 23-year-old took the wickets of Matt Maynard & Nasser Hussain in the first innings before removing Graham Gooch, Steve Watkin and Peter Such in the second innings. No delivery stuck in the memory quite as much as his ‘Ball of the Century’ in the first Test of that series though.
1997 – 2/32 & 2/37 as England won by 19 runs
Surrey’s captain Adam Hollioake was Warne’s first victim in this match, with one that he won’t want to see again. The wickets of Phil Tufnell, Hussain and Mark Ramprakash also came across both innings.
2001 – 7/165 & 4/64 as Australia won by an innings and 25 runs
Firmly established as a genius of the game by this stage, in one of the greatest Test teams of all-time, Warne was a star in a dominant series for Australia.
His 7/165 in the first innings was perhaps the decisive factor in this match and included the scalps of Michael Atherton, Marcus Trescothick, Mark Butcher, Alec Stewart & bowlers Andy Caddick, Jimmy Ormond and Darren Gough.
The second innings again saw him wreak havoc, this time on Butcher, Hussain, Ramprakash & Stewart.
2005 – 6/122 & 6/124 as the match was drawn
Warne’s final Test in England and the final match of an historic series. Despite his bowling heroics, his performance in this match is most remembered for dropping Kevin Pietersen early in the batter’s incredible series-clinching innings. With the ball though, he ripped through all of England’s top five in the first innings and then four of the top seven in the second innings.