Melbourne Cricket Ground - Warne's 700th Test wicket
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Warne's 700th Test wicket

Shane Warne bowls Andrew Strauss at the MCG to claim his 700th Test wicket.

December 26, 2006

Shane Warne gave his beloved home crowd a fairytale 2006 Boxing Day, claiming his 700th Test wicket en route to another five-wicket haul as England was routed for 159 on the first day of the fourth Ashes Test at the MCG.

Completing a day of drama on the opening day of the MCG's 10th Test, the moment cricket lovers had been so keenly waiting for came in the 47th over of the day when Warne deceived Andrew Strauss with a quicker well-pitched up delivery which spun through the opener's gate, rattling his middle stump.

Strauss had been the cornerstone of England's resistance for the best part of two sessions, crafting a patient 50 off 132 balls, but his team lost its final eight wickets for just 58 runs in a calamitous collapse.

Warne finished with 5-39, the 37th and final occasion he grabbed five wickets or more in an innings, including the scalp of great friend and rival Kevin Pietersen.

Under overcast skies and light drizzle, the Australian attack derived plenty of movement off the wicket but could not cut through England's top order during the opening session due to some dogged batting from their openers.

Having made it to lunch at 1-36 with Alastair Cook the only man out, England lost Ian Bell shortly after the interval when he was trapped in front by Stuart Clark for seven.

Collingwood and Strauss both survived chances as they added 57 during the middle session before Warne, who was given a standing ovation when introduced into the attack in the 41st over, again had the English batsmen befuddled.

Two balls after Collingwood edged a searing lifter from Lee to Ponting at second slip, the 90,000-strong crowd got what they had come for, Warne grabbing his 700th Test wicket as England's innings began to unravel.

Warne was in the thick of it again after tea, taking a regulation catch at first slip to deliver Flintoff's scalp to Clark, then enticing Read to drive straight to Ponting at cover when on three.

After Sajid Mahmood gave McGrath a much-deserved wicket, Warne had Steve Harmison, Pietersen and Monty Panesar all dismissed playing expansive shots to write another chapter into his illustrious career.


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