Cricket: Warne celebrates return to senior action

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The Independent Online
SHANE WARNE made a triumphant return to senior cricket yesterday by leading Victoria to victory over New South Wales.

The Australian leg-spinner took one wicket and scored 24 runs to steer his team to a 29-run win in a Mercantile Cup one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. "It's very exciting. I was very happy with the eight overs I bowled." Warne said. "I'm not far away. I'm not far off bowling flat out for as long as I like."

Warne has not played a first-class match in more than six months after undergoing shoulder surgery. He hopes to play in the Ashes series against England - but wants to fully test his shoulder before he makes his return.

"I'm way ahead of schedule at the moment, but it's not something I'm rushing," Warne said. "I've just got to get some match fitness and match practice, and get some bowling under my belt. It's a bit exciting - at one stage there I felt like absolutely ripping them, but at this stage I suppose I'm still a little tentative to go and rip every ball."

Batting at No 8, Warne hit 24 runs off just 29 balls, then took 1 for 23 from eight overs, claiming the wicket off Scott Thomson when he lifted the ball to Matthew Mott at mid-off.

The Australia and New South Wales captain, Mark Taylor, was encouraged by Warne's performance - but does not expect to see him in the Test side before the third Test in Adelaide, starting on 11 December.

"The fact he bowled eight overs straight was great for Australian cricket," Taylor said. "It was probably great for cricket full stop - although I'm not so sure the English side will agree with me."