Dream Test farewell for Warne goes to script
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 8th January 2007
Shane Warne says he won't be overcome with emotion as Australia press
for a four-day victory in the fifth Test in Sydney to inflict an Ashes
series whitewash on England for the first time in 86 years.
The champion leg-spinner is winding down his extraordinarily successful
cricket career in the Sydney Test and all signs point to the
Australians clinching victory after dominating the tourists on the
third day Thursday.
Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker has had a dream farewell Test
match, spanking the England bowlers while top scoring with 71 off 65
balls and grabbing the psychologically important wicket of captain
Andrew Flintoff nearing stumps.
The tourists are left praying for a miracle to avert another shattering
The 37-year-old Australian great is set for a magnificent send-off from
his adoring fans along with local hero Glenn McGrath and opening
batsman Justin Langer, who are also bowing out of Test cricket in the
Asked if he would shed a tear when the match ends, Warne told
reporters: "No. Not at all. I'll be happy. The stuff I've achieved in
the Australian team, what we've achieved as a group of players through
a period of time. We've beaten every country home and away. It's been a
wonderful career for me. To take 700 wickets, score a few thousand
runs, take a 100 catches and play 100-odd Test matches. I couldn't have
asked for my career to go any better. I'd like to think that I've
repaid everyone for what I've brought to cricket, I'd like to think
I've made it entertaining. People have enjoyed watching the Australian
team play and they've enjoyed watching me play. I'd like to think I've
made it enjoyable, so I won't be sad tomorrow. I think I'll be pretty
happy because my body is telling me it's time to go. I know that for
Warne produced the magic in an intoxicating Australian performance on
the third day to seize control of the match. He had earlier blasted 71
off 65 balls, with nine fours and two sixes, and then weighed in with
Flintoff's wicket to leave the field with 1-14 off three overs.
Flintoff was out stumped off Warne for seven after adjudication by the
video umpire. The tight decision ended England's last realistic chance
of a big match-saving partnership.
At the close, England were 114 for five and facing likely defeat, with
remaining batting hope Kevin Pietersen not out on 29 and nightwatchman
Monty Panesar yet to score.
"Freddie showed in the first innings that he's starting to find some
form, and Flintoff and Pietersen together could easily have put on
150-200 runs onto the total," Warne said. "That was a pretty big moment
in those last few overs and to get him like that was pretty handy and
it wasn't a bad ball either."
Warne while batting characteristically engaged in some banter with Paul
"We spoke about a different array of things. I thought it was all in
fun, we were having a bit of fun out there, a bit of jest," Warne said.
"I was letting him know my thoughts and that was making me concentrate
and making me more determined. I thought it was good fun and if that's
the way he wanted to play then I was more than happy to play that game,
that's suits me fine."