Glenn McGrath chooses ‘the-harder-to-bowl-to’ between Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara

Glenn McGrath chooses ‘the-harder-to-bowl-to’ between Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara

Former Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath added fuel to the raging debate that ignited three decades back. We will come to that. The world is divided on who was a better batsman – Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara? Statistically, Tendulkar has the edge, but Lara’s appetite for monster scores makes him special.

Tendulkar and Lara are two of the finest batters to have graced cricket. The duo ruled the batting charts in the 1990s and 2000s. Contrasting in styles, Tendulkar's batting was based more on technique, and his strength lied in consistency, whereas Lara was more about flair. He would pile up massive scores at will. During their reign as the best batsmen, Australia were the side to beat, and their bowling attack was led by the world-class McGrath.

Both Tendulkar and Lara possess an excellent record against Australia.

Versus Australia in Tests

  Tests Runs HS Ave  100s 50s
Sachin Tendulkar (India) 41 3,670 241* 55.0 11 16
Brian Lara (West Indies) 31 2,856 277 51.0 9 11

Versus Australia in ODIs

  ODIs Runs HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Sachin Tendulkar  71 3,077 175 44.6   84.7 92  15
Brian Lara 51 1,858 139 39.5 76.6 3 15

During a recent interaction with TOI, McGrath was asked to name the batsman, who he felt was harder to bowl to and the pace legend answered, “Brian Lara,” calling the Trinidadian “more fearless.” One of the greatest bowlers of all times, McGrath was among the foremost reasons for Australia’s dominance in cricket. A three-time World Cup champion, McGrath has dismissed Tendulkar and Lara 13 and 18 times respectively.

Elaborating the reason, McGrath said, “He(Lara)never changed his game. I may have got him out 15 times (in Tests), but he also scored big hundreds and double hundreds against us when both me and Warnie(Shane Warne) were playing together for Australia. When it was his day, he could do absolutely anything. Sachin was equally as good, but there was something about Brian where he could just keep going, and he was slightly harder to bowl to than Sachin. He was more fearless.

McGrath, as a bowler, was tough to master. He would choke the runs with consistent line-and-length and impeccable control. Statistically speaking, Tendulkar was more dominant overall, but his record in the matches involving McGrath wasn’t as good as Lara’s.

Versus Australia in Tests involving McGrath

  Tests Runs HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Sachin Tendulkar  9  662 126 36.8   55.0  5
Brian Lara 24 2,041 226 46.4 59.9 6 7

Versus Australia in ODIs

  ODIs Runs HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Sachin Tendulkar  23  828 139 36.0    91.5 4
Brian Lara 28 1,059 139 44.1 84.5 2 7

Tendulkar's average against McGrath stands 22.2 and 23.9 in Tests and ODIs respectively. In contrast, Lara's average against the Australian speedster stands at 41.4 and 27.3 in Tests, and ODIs, respectively.

It’s quite clear that in matches involving McGrath, Lara would fare better and that’s where the former’s assessment stems from.

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