Throughout his storied career, Shane Warne was seldom out of the news or Australia’s consciousness.
Whether it was his exploits on the sporting field epitomising a golden era for Australian cricket, or his complicated love life, Australia was fascinated with ‘Warnie’.
On the news of his tragic death from a suspected heart attack, Australians were united in remembering Warne and why he mean’t so much to them.
It can be too easy for some to forget that it was his incredible talent as a sportsman that propelled him fame and embedded him in the consciousness of fans around the world.
These are just some of the highlights of Shane Warne’s remarkable cricket career.
1. Ball of the Century
Warne announced himself in the cricketing world’s consciousness with his first Ashes delivery of the first Test against England on June 4, 1993.
Warne had had a lacklustre Australian bowling career before his selection for the Ashes tour and the little-know Australian bowler was not expected to cause too many problems for veteran England batsman Mike Gatting.
After a short run-up, Warne delivered a leg break to the burley right-hander.
Initially travelled straight down the pitch, the ball began to drift to the right and ended up pitching several inches outside the line of Gatting’s leg stump.
As Gatting thrusting his left leg forward to defend, the ball landed in a rough patch of the pitch which, passed the outside edge of his bat and seemingly miraculously clipped the top of his the off stump,
Gatting stared at the pitch for several seconds, before walked from the field.
From that moment on, Warne was destined for cricketing greatness.
2, MSC Hat Trick
Warne claimed his only hat trick against England in the 1994 Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
After taking the wickets of Phil DeFreitas and Darren Gough off successive balls in the second innings, Devon Malcolm came out to bat.
Malcolm, not renowned for his batting prowess, pushed forward to Warne’s delivery as the ball brushed his pad, then glove, and flew away at a right angle.
David Boon dived to his right to take the catch before hoisting the ball into the air in celebration.
3. 1999 World Cup
Warne took centre stage in Australia’s 1999 one-day World Cup victory in England.
After claiming three top-order scalps in a four-wicket haul to help claim a thrilling tie against South Africa in the semifinal, Warne was again central to the Cup victory.
In the final at Lords, again claimed four wickets to help Australia dismiss Pakistan for just 132.
Warne was named man-of-the-match as Steve Waugh’s side coasted past their victory.
4. 700th Test wicket
It was during the Boxing Day Test in front of a Melbourne home crowd that Warne reached one of his most important milestones.
On the opening day of the 2006 Test, in front of an MCG crowd of 89,000, Warne delivered a sublime leg-break that spun past Andrew Strauss’ defences and clipped his middle stump.
After acknowledging his feat, the deafening roar of the crowd, Warne went on to dismantle the English lower order to finish the innings with his 37th, and final, five-wicket haul.
In December 2006, Warne announced he would ‘go out on top’ and retire from Test cricket after the fifth Ashes match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Fittingly, the January 2007 Test came at the same venue where he made his debut 15 years earlier.
Warne ended England’s first innings with his 1000th dismissal in both Test and limited-overs matches, trapping Monty Panesar lbw for a duck.
His final Test wicket was the scalp of prolific all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who was stumped by Adam Gilchrist.
Earlier in the season, Warne was named Men’s Test Player of the Year by Cricket Australia at the 2006 Allan Border Medal ceremony.