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Gatting recounts Manchester memories

Mike Gatting knows he will forever be associated with one delivery at Old Trafford, but the Manchester ground also provides happy Ashes memories for the former England captain.

In 1993, it was Gatting who fell victim to Shane Warne’s magical ‘Ball of the Century’ - a vicious delivery that drifted away to pitch outside the right-hander’s leg stump before turning sharply and taking the top of off.

Australia’s subsequent victory set the tone for a summer of touring domination that resulted in a 4-1 series win.

However, England were the team on top eight years earlier as they triumphed 3-1 in a six-match battle that featured back-to-back tons from Gatting, now the ECB's managing director of cricket partnerships.

Having recorded his first five-day centuries on the tour of India the previous winter, Gatting struck 160 in the drawn fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford and 100 not out to help England triumph at Edgbaston a fortnight later.

Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk about his 266-ball knock at Lancashire's home ground, the 56-year-old said: “It was a great moment to score a hundred in front of a home crowd.

“I suppose the relief was just before that in India when I managed to get one. To be able to get back into it when we got back home was nice, just to show that you could do it again against a different side and a different quality of bowlers.

Former England captain Mike Gatting discusses his 160 in the 1985 Ashes Test at Old Trafford

“We went to Edgbaston and I managed to get another one. It’s always nice to get them against the Aussies and it was in a winning match there.

“It was one of those nice series where we were really on top all the way through and managed to win the series comfortably.”

A redeveloped Emirates Old Trafford can be expected to provide a brilliant atmosphere when the current Investec Ashes Series resumes on Thursday, with England 2-0 up.

Reflecting on the support he and his team-mates received in 1985, Gatting added: “It was a very good crowd up there and a lovely ground. I do remember the crowd being tremendous.”

And what of that famous Warne delivery 20 years ago, which is still replayed on a regular basis to this day.

“I keep seeing it and it still looks a pretty decent ball to me,” said Gatting.

“Would I have swept it? Could I have swept it? You ask all the same questions. I asked Warnie ‘how would you have played it Warnie?’ and he said ‘I’d have probably swept it and got a top-edge and got out!

“It’s one of those wonderful highlights of the game, one of those bits of history that belongs not only to me but probably the best leg-spinner of all time. It’s nice to be a part of history and that’s what this great game is about.”

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