London - Australia's Shane Warne yesterday became only the sixth bowler in Test history and the first spinner to take 400 wickets, finishing the third day of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval with six for 155.

But thanks mainly to Mark Ramprakash's 124 not out, England, 3-1 down in the series, were 409 for eight in their first innings, just 33 runs short of avoiding the follow-on after Australia had piled up 641 for four declared.

Darren Gough, 17 not out, pulled the last ball from Jason Gillespie for four on an unusually balmy day.

One hundred and ten balls after taking his 399th Test wicket, Warne, in his 92nd Test, joined the 400 club when he had Alec Stewart caught by wicketkeeeper Adam Gilchrist for 29, and England were 313 for six.

Then, having waited so long to reach the magic figure, wicket 401 came next ball when Andrew Caddick was lbw for nought, the spinner taking five or more wickets in an innings for the 19th time.

Test debutant Jimmy Ormond survived the hat-trick but was later bowled by Warne for 18 and England were 350 for eight.

But former Middlesex captain Ramprakash kept going, sweeping Warne for four to bring up a resilient century in five and a quarter hours, facing 196 balls including 15 fours. It was only his second Test century in 81 innings.

Ramprakash, 43 not out at tea, had made two more runs when he survived an impassioned lbw appeal for what would have been Warne's 400th Test wicket.

Although the batsman was right back in his crease, South African umpire Rudi Koertzen correctly decided the ball was missing leg stump.

Warne, who had already taken the first three wickets to fall in this innings, had earlier come close to the 400-mark when, in his second over after lunch, Gilchrist appealed for a stumping against Usman Afzaal (16) with England 188 for four.

Koertzen, at square leg, called for a replay and it looked as if Afzaal's back foot was on the line - not behind it - in which case he was out.

But the pictures were not conclusive and third umpire Mervyn Kitchen gave the batsman the benefit of the doubt.

Afzaal, in his third Test, cashed in by reaching his maiden Test fifty.

England captain Nasser Hussain, 49 not out at lunch, duly made 50 but four balls later he was out playing on to occasional off-spinner Mark Waugh. - Sapa-AFP