To debut in an Ashes Test is hard. To debut as a leg-spinner bowling to two of the world’s best batsmen in front of the greatest leggie of them all is even harder, but Mason Crane showed enough on his first day in Test cricket to provide encouragement for the future.
The SCG was the home to leg spin on Friday. Shane Warne was rushed into the Channel 9 commentary seat when Crane came on in the 15th over of the innings to bowl in front of the Bill O’Reilly Stand, named after the great leg-spinner of the Bradman era whose Wisden obituary stated, “It was said he never bowled a wide”. No pressure then Mason.
The Hampshire connection helps of course, and Warne is always positive when speaking about young leg-spinners, but he liked what he saw.
“His action is nicely balanced, there is nice momentum and he explodes through the crease which is good,” was Warne’s first judgement on his action. Then came an assessment of his character. “He’s very aggressive. He is feisty, looks to get into the batsman’s space. He won’t back down from the challenge.”