20 great Ashes moments No1: Shane Warne's ball of the century, 1993 | Barney Ronay

The Australian spinner’s drifting, leaping leg-break to bowl Mike Gatting at Old Trafford introduced the cricket world to a new hero

There shouldn’t really be anything left to say about Warne’s Ball, otherwise known as Shane Warne’s opening delivery in Ashes cricket; or more commonly as The Ball of the Century, Birth of A Superstar, Awakening of the Kraken, the Jailhouse Rock of Australia’s custard-blond leg-break Elvis, and so on ad infinitum.

In part this is simply because so much has already been said and written, an entire vast, groaning medieval library of ball talk, from the historian’s cold-eyed anatomy to the biographer’s partisan gurgles. And partly because the ball itself has become so enmeshed in its own mille-feuille of well-worn superlatives that there is a fear the moment itself has also become a cliche, a mini-industry of middle-aged hyperbole, asserting its own wonderfulness more insistently with each receding year. Perhaps Warne’s Ball might even have begun to look a bit like Warne himself these days: waxworked and framed, glistening with the acquired privilege of athletic celebrity and generally hanging around the place being oppressively eminent long after its own meaningful cricketing life has ended.

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