Strauss main target of Warne's '600' spin

But which England batsman will become Shane Warne's 600th Test victim? Warne has 599 wickets to his name and, after he claimed 16 scalps in the opening two matches, there is a good chance that No 600 will arrive during the third Test at Old Trafford which starts tomorrow.

At the start of the summer Warne nicknamed Kevin Pietersen, his Hampshire team-mate, "600" because he believed he would become that victim, but after dismissing Strauss twice in the second Test the great leg-spinner may have altered his target. At first there seemed very little Strauss could do about the delivery which bowled him behind his legs in England's second innings at Edgbaston. Warne has built a career around bamboozling batsmen, yet nobody expected a ball that pitched 18 inches outside Strauss' off-stump to spit back and collide with leg.

Warne will tell you that the dismissal was part of a plan and, such is the confidence of the man, it possibly could have been. One thing for sure is that he believes he has the measure of Strauss.

"If Strauss is still in after five or six overs I might be thrown the ball earlier than usual," Warne said. "I thought in a county game [against Middlesex] earlier this season, when he tried to reverse sweep me, that he did not have a plan. Nothing has made me change my mind. Some of the batsmen tried to be more positive in the first innings but it becomes harder after day one, and to finish with 10 wickets suggests I didn't do too badly.

"Old Trafford does take spin and it will play a part. People have said that the way I am bowling it will rag square on days four and five - but I wonder if we'll get to day five. At the moment someone seems to have a finger on the fast-forward button."

Strauss is an intelligent young man with an excellent Test record. He admits that he has not looked at his best during this series, but he is a strong, gutsy cricketer who will not be undermined by Warne's statements.

He will not admit it but he knows Warne is causing him problems, and that his record at Old Trafford - 17 wickets at an average of 14.59 in two matches - is impressive. Strauss struggled to play him at the Rose Bowl in May and again at Lord's, but he will have been working hard with the England coach, Duncan Fletcher. At 6.30pm last night he could be found in the Old Trafford nets facing Merlyn, a bowling machine which attempts to imitate Warne's wizardry. In the second Test England's batsmen took the game to Warne, with Strauss and Trescothick hitting him over his head in his first two overs. "At Edgbaston we made a decision to be positive against him ... and it worked pretty well in the first innings. But when he tosses it into the rough you have got to be careful because you know he's doing it for a reason, as I found out twice to my cost. Warnedeserved his 10-wicket haul and I am sure he is going to be a major threat at Old Trafford. But whatever happens over the next three games, I know I'm going to be a better player for it."

Strauss avoided becoming McGrath's 500th victim at Lord's; that dubious honour did go to Trescothick. Strauss will be determined not to become Warne's 600th victim, but in years to come there will be only one person who can tell his grandson that tale.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?