KL Rahul never looked so confident in the entire Test series against England. Rahul waited till the end to show his mettle, that too in a near-impossible run-chase in the fourth innings for India. With a flurry of shots in the initial part of the innings, the opener resorted to taking calculated risks, with Rishabh Pant firing from the other side. The partnership went well for a period of time, Indian fans started believing that they can actually win this one and make the scoreline 2-3. But then, Adil Rashid was introduced into the attack.
Rashid knew that he would have to do something different to break the partnership. He tried to bowl into the rough from around the wicket in an effort to extract more turn from the surface. He was picked for runs initially. At times, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was left dumbfounded as the leg-spinner generated an outrageous amount of spin from the pitch.
Then came the best ball Rashid has bowled all summer — the delivery which led to his comparison with legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne.
The ball came from way outside the leg stump, Rahul was on the back foot, trying to defend that one. There was broad daylight between the bat and the ball as Rashid generated significantly huge turn to hit the off-stump. It managed to dislodge just one bail but was enough to send him back to the pavilion and bring hosts back into the game.
The Indian opener was outsmarted by the peach of a delivery. He was impeccable until that delivery. Fast bowlers barely posed any threat to him. He got out after scoring 149 runs from 224 deliveries. His wicket turned out to be the turning point in the game as it led to a batting collapse.
The delivery had an uncanny resemblance to Warne’s massive turner to dismiss former England skipper Andrew Strauss 13 years ago. The left-handed batsman tried to pad it out but the ball turned square to hit the leg stump. It is one of the favourite deliveries of the Aussie leggie, as he confessed three years back. Few also compared it to Warne’s ball-of-the-century that dismissed Mike Gatting 25 years ago.
25 years on from the Ball of the Century
Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch, @StewieCricket and Peter Such remember their reactions to @ShaneWarne‘s ripper at Old Trafford in 1993 in today’s TCP #Ashes pic.twitter.com/36pOYEPfF7
— The Cricket Paper (@TheCricketPaper) June 8, 2018
Twitter was flooded with reactions and comparisons between the two leg-spinners:
Which one spun more? Warne to Gatting? Or Rashid to Rahul? #ballsofthecentury #engvindia @ShaneWarne
— Gautam Bhimani (@gbhimani) September 11, 2018
‘Yorkshire’s Shane Warne’, that’s got a nice ring to it!
Adil Rashid turning himself into the Yorkshire Shane Warne here…
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) September 11, 2018
This guy looked a little overexcited
F**k !!!! Did Rashid bowled the warne’s magical delivery ….!!
Ref- the bowl that bowled Kl Rahul #INDvENG
— Vivek somani (@Viveksomani19) September 12, 2018
Shame Warne ? Na mate this is Adil Rashid pic.twitter.com/Z1SMBcpWKb
— Ammar Syed (@ammarsyed00) September 11, 2018
When nostalgia hits you
Adil Rashid wicket evokes memories of Shane Warne´s ball of the century´#ENGvIND #AdilRashid
— Usama (@usama0455) September 11, 2018
If Shane Warne had bowled that ball Adil Rashid bowled to remove Kl Rahul people would be talking about it for years to come. Well bowled… @MichaelVaughan #bbccricket #ECB #testmatchspecial
— Noddy1971 (@Noddy19711) September 11, 2018
Rahul’s wicket might just seal Rashid’s spot in squad for Lanka tour.
Almost like Warne#ENGvIND
— Mohammed Arif Khan (@mdarifkhan87) September 11, 2018
Warne’s combination of drift and turn surely makes it superior, but this was some delivery from Rashid https://t.co/huF6voVkV0
— Alister Nicholson (@AlisterNicho) September 12, 2018
Rashid bowls ‘ball of the century’ to rival Warne https://t.co/a03LswllAp pic.twitter.com/hB5vD0b0vI
— Maximum Cricket (@Maximum_Cricket) September 12, 2018
Too early to say?
Would this one classify as Ball of the (21st) Century as well? #RahulBowledRashid #IndvEng
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) September 11, 2018
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It can be said that Rashid may have cemented his spot in the squad for Sri Lanka tour in October. The subcontinent conditions favour the spinners more as they are often dry and dusty. We might just get a few wicket-taking deliveries from him which will be worthy of the ‘ball-of-the-century’ tag.