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Whenever Shane Warne came up against Sachin Tendulkar, it was a case of the best bowler of his generation coming up against the best batsman. But how did their rivalry work out both on and off the pitch?
Debut in January 1992 – Sydney
Sachin Tendulkar made his international debut as a 16-year-old against Pakistan in 1989 while Shane Warne took his bow for Australia three years later. The two men came up against each other in Warne’s first test which came at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 1992.
The leg spinner struggled and Sachin certainly got the better of this tussle, making an unbeaten 148 in India’s total of 483. That was the tourist’s only innings in a drawn game.
Shane Warne finished with the forgettable figures of 1/150 but the rivalry was now in place.
Shane Warne dismissed Sachin Tendulkar for the very first time at Chennai in 1998. This was the first test in the series between the two sides and the leg spinner picked up the batter’s wicket for just four runs as India were bowled out for 257.
India were behind on first innings, but this was where Sachin was about to exact his revenge. Taking Warne, and the rest of the Australian attack apart, he made 155 not out from 191 balls to set up a victory target of 348. The tourists were bowled out for 168 and the batsman had won another battle.
With the test matches done, India and Australia met in a triangular One Day series. Warne picked up Tendulkar’s wicket once again, but the Little Master had already made a century and the hosts went on to win the match by six wickets.
The third time that Shane Warne claimed Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket was on home soil. This time, the leg spinner was to get the upper hand as Australia went on to win this test at Adelaide.
The home side batted first and posted a healthy total of 441. Tendulkar had made 61 in India’s reply but, when Warne had him caught by Justin Langer, the innings lost momentum.
India eventually replied with 285 and Australia would leave the tourists needing 396 to win the match. This time, Warne didn’t even get a chance to bowl to Tendulkar as Glenn McGrath dismissed the batter for a duck.
Shane Warne finally emerged victorious in this legendary battle.
Warne and Tendulkar would take up that battle again in the second test of the series at the MCG. Australia would eventually win the game, but it would be fair to say that the two players finished with honours even in their personal duel.
Australia batted first and made 405. Tendulkar brought up his century in India’s reply and would eventually make 116, but the tourists could only post 268.
The home side left India needing 376 to win on fourth innings and they could only reach 195. Sachin continued his good form, making 52, but he would fall LBW to Shane Warne.
Clashes in The Indian Premier League
The Indian Premier League came a little late in the careers of Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar, but their paths would cross in this competition. Warne played in the Rajasthan Royals team that won the first ever edition of the IPL in 2008, while Tendulkar was an important player for early Mumbai Indians teams.
In total, the players clashed on six occasions in the IPL and the first meeting took place in that debut season of 2008. Rajasthan won that match comfortably, while both Warne and Tendulkar had modest games.
In 2009, Warne took Tendulkar’s wicket as he finished with match-winning figures of 3/24.
A year later in 2010, Sachin made his first major contribution in this personal battle as he made an undefeated 89 to take Mumbai home. Warne and Tendulkar would play each other twice in this season, but neither man really stood out in the other game.
2011 saw Warne and Tendulkar meet in the IPL for the final time. Once again, there were two matches and Mumbai lost both of them. Neither player enjoyed spectacular returns as their rivalry on the pitch came to an end.
Friendship off the Field
While they were great rivals on the field, Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne shared mutual respect and they would develop a friendship. There is a famous story about Warne being invited around to Tendulkar’s house when the two men were playing at the IPL.
Sachin served up a chicken meal that was far too spicy for Warne to handle but, because he didn’t want to offend the Tendulkar family, he kept cutting up the chicken and moving it around the plate while just eating mashed potatoes.
They remained firm friends and it proves that a rivalry on the field can be a healthy one and it doesn’t need to boil over and become unpleasant.
Within each game of cricket, there are a number of ‘mini contests’ which help to decide the destiny of the match. That was often the case when Shane Warne stepped up to deliver his leg spin to Sachin Tendulkar.
We were arguably watching the best bowler in the history of cricket take on the greatest batsman of all time, and it was a great privilege to do so.
It’s interesting to look back on these personal duels and, obviously, it’s sad to think that Shane Warne has now left us. We still have the memories and can always head over to the video sharing channels to catch some highlights.