Yasir Shah echoed Shane Warne’s ‘Ball of the Century’ to dismiss Kusal Mendis in the ongoing Galle test. After Babar Azam’s composed century brought Pakistan to within a whisker of Sri Lanka’s first innings score, Lankan batters Mendis and Oshada Fernando helped the home side to a position of strength. But Pakistani spinners Mohammad Nawaz and the veteran Shah spun the visitors back into the contest. Mendis’ wicket threatened a collapse, but Dinesh Chandimal intervened to put the Lankans ahead at the end of the day.

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Yet, Yasir Shah grabbed eyeballs for the vicious leg break that ended Mendis’ 76-run vigil. A leg spinner’s dream, the ball pitched outside leg-stump before darting across Mendis, past his outside edge, to kiss the top of off-stump. The batter -baffled by the sharp turn- did not hang about a la Warne’s victim Mike Gatting.

In 1993, a blonde-haired Warne rocked up to Old Trafford on his first Ashes outing to dismiss the portly Gatting with his first ball of the series. Rolling his wrists, he gave the ball an almighty rip. The ball, dipping viciously, seemed innocuous enough as it drifted down the leg side. Pitching outside Gatting’s leg stump, it suddenly veered inwards. Fizzing past his thrusting left leg, it clipped the top-of-off to leave him in a heap of confusion. When in the mood, Warne had such genius on tap almost.

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Shah isn’t the first to produce a delivery similar to Warne’s instant classic. West Indian leggie Devendra Bishoo conjured his version of the same. At Dominica’s Windsor Park -on a turning track- the Guyanese leggie spat a fizzing led break that spun from leg to off stump before spitting past Brad Haddin’s shouldered arms. Not quite in the same mould as the original, it was still a fitting tribute to the Aussie, twenty-two years since he left Gatting a bit shook.

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Coming back to Galle, Pakistan is chasing 342 on a slow-turner. After a solid opening partnership, Abdullah Shafique and Babar Azam came together in a century-run stand. But just before the day’s close, Prabath Jayasuriya snared Babar. Looking to pad away an inwards spinning delivery, he failed to cover its line as the ball brushed off his thigh and onto the stumps. At 222/3, Pakistan is better placed, but Jayasuriya & co. have enough devilry to halt their charge.