While Australia Day has become a subject of much divisiveness in recent times, at the Pinch Hitters we believe there isn’t much more Australian than a long weekend and celebrating great Aussie sporting moments. On this Australia Day, almost two decades into the 21st Century, we look at the best this century has had to offer.
Australia has always been a nation of great sporting passion and prowess. Over many years and many different sports there have been countless memorable and elating moments. The twenty-first century has been packed full of great Aussie Moments, some that immediately come to mind include Cathy Freeman’s 400 metre Gold Medal run at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, John Aloisi’s penalty against Uruguay in 2005 and Cadel Evan’s Tour de France win in 2011. All fantastic moments that brought a proud nation together, but there is still one that for me, and many other trumps all.
Boxing Day 2006.
It’s around a quarter past three and Shane Warne has just come on to bowl in the Fourth Test of the 2006/2007 Ashes Series. It’s rained a fair bit throughout the day and so not much play has happened, but still there are 89,155 people in the crowd and the atmosphere is electric. Seconds later, Shane Warne, the best there ever was, bowls out Englishman Andrew Strauss and takes his 700th test wicket, becoming the first player to ever do so. “Got him! There it is! Wicket number 700!” Mark Taylor summed it up well in commentary before a roar louder than anything you’ve ever heard erupted around the ground and a every single person rose to their feet to cheer on the greatest bowler and one of the all-time great cricketers.
Although not everyone’s favourite person off the field, Warnie was a performer, an entertainer who knew how to please spectators. And although he took many, many wickets his 700th wicket was special. At his home ground, surrounded by his people just five days after he announced his retirement from test cricket, Warnie cemented his place in the hearts and minds of the cricketing world and Australia. As if he hadn’t already.
Great Aussie Moments.
Cricket fans look back on Shane Warne’s 700th affectionately still to this day. We always will. For me it’s the 700th and the Ball of the Century (the last century however) that continue to stand out. We all wanted to play like Warnie, we all went out and tried to rip a few of his classic leggies in the backyard but never quite got the purchase and ended up bowling rubbish that got smashed over the fence with ease.
Granted there’s been some poor sporting moments, Shane Watson’s not so terrific judgement of LBW’s springs to mind, but so so many incredible ones that make you proud to be an Australian. Shane Warne’s 700th is the best moment of the 21st century, and Warnie himself is one of the great characters of a great sport and our great country. There will never be another quite like him and there will probably never be such a moment that united a sporting nation like there was on Boxing Day of 2006 at the MCG.
Happy Australia Day!
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