Sachin vs Lara-Who is the greatest?

Published: Saturday, October 18, 2008, 14:27 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

New Delhi: India's Sachin Tendulkar is celebrating breaking Brian Lara's world record for most runs in Test cricket, but he lags behind the West Indian when it comes to playing marathon innings.

Tendulkar surpassed the retired Lara's mark of 11,953 runs during the second Test against Australia in Mohali on Friday, but would dearly love to match a couple of "batathons" played by the left-hander.

Tendulkar holds four world records -- most runs and centuries in Tests (12,027/39) and one-day internationals (16,361/42) -- but still believes that performance matters only when it helps his team win.

Lara was peerless when it came to playing long innings, still holding world records for the highest innings in first-class cricket (501 for Warwickshire v Durham in 1994) and in Tests (400 not out v England in 2004).

Sachin good, Bradman better: Boycott

The West Indian made 375 against England in 1994, a record that was beaten by Australian Matthew Hayden (380 v Zimbabwe in 2003), before being reclaimed by Lara.

Tendulkar is considered more consistent and technically sound than Lara, but has failed to convert any of his four double-centuries into a triple-hundred in 152 Tests. His best remains an unbeaten 248 in Bangladesh in 2004.

"He (Tendulkar) is in the same league with Lara, but I've always felt Sachin has a tighter technique," Australian captain Ricky Ponting said recently.

"Because he (Tendulkar) is so solid, our bowlers have had to work hard to get him out. At different times, we've worked out different plans, but Sachin comes up with something to combat them... the sign of a truly class player."

Tendulkar climbs 'Mount Lara'

Pundits find it baffling how a Test triple-century has eluded Tendulkar while compatriot Virender Sehwag has two to his credit despite lacking the master batsman's consistency.

Tendulkar and Lara both made their Test debuts in Pakistan -- the Indian as a 16-year-old in 1989 and Lara the following year.

The pair were at the top of the game for more than a decade, scoring a bucketful of runs against quality pace and spin attacks in all conditions.

Both were feared and respected by their opponents, with Australian leg-spin genius Shane Warne once saying that Tendulkar and Lara were the two best batsmen of his era.

Lara spent most of his international career in a declining West Indies team and it was a tribute to his genius that he never allowed the side's repeated failures to affect his batting.

'I converted stones thrown at me to milestones'

He plundered 688 runs in three Tests in Sri Lanka in 2001, only to see his team lose the series 3-0. His last Test series was a similar story -- he scored 448 in three matches in his team's 2-0 defeat in Pakistan in 2006.

Tendulkar was also in a similar situation for a few years in the 1990s when he virtually carried the burden of his struggling team on his shoulders, especially in one-day internationals.

But he avoided Lara's fate as the emergence of world-class batsmen in Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Venkatsai Laxman and Sehwag considerably eased the pressure on him.

Lara, considered one of the best finishers in the game, was renowned for winning matches from hopeless situations despite receiving little support from the other end.

The West Indies were reeling at 248-8 chasing a 308-run target in the third Test against Australia in Bridgetown in 1999 when Lara (153 not out) steered his team to a one-wicket win in the company of the tailenders.

Retirement last thing on my mind: Sachin

Four years later at the same venue against the same opposition, Lara's brisk 60 set up his side's record 418-run chase.

Controversy followed Lara more than Tendulkar, with the West Indian often having brushes with authorities over selection, contracts and sponsorship deals.

Both Lara and Tendulkar never really enjoyed captaincy.

Tendulkar stepped down after losing a home Test series against South Africa in 2000 and since then has said no to captaincy. Lara was in his third stint as captain when he quit the game after the 2007 World Cup.

Write Comments