Greatest Batter v Bowler Rivalries in Test Cricket

Sachin Tendulkar v Glenn McGrath

There can be few greater rivalries in Test cricket than that between Sachin Tendulkar and Glenn McGrath. The two players met on an astonishing 27 occasions in Test matches, with the Indian batsman coming out on top in 19 of those encounters.

Tendulkar was one of the finest batsmen of his generation, and his record against McGrath is testament to that. In total, he scored 2,048 runs off the Australian bowler at an average of 80.32, including eight centuries and 12 half-centuries. McGrath, meanwhile, could only manage to dismiss Tendulkar on eight occasions.

The two first met in November 1992, when Tendulkar was just 20 years old and McGrath was still relatively unknown. It was the Australian who came out on top in that contest, dismissing Tendulkar for just 15 runs as India were skittled out for just 83.

It would take another five years before the two greats would lock horns again, this time in Australia. And it was Tendulkar who would come out on top on that occasion, scoring 143 runs as India won by 10 wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

From thereon out, it seemed as though every time these two greats met, it would be Tendulkar who would come out on top. In fact, such was the dominance that Tendulkar

Viv Richards v Dennis Lillee

There are few rivalries in cricket as fierce as that between Viv Richards and Dennis Lillee. The two men met on the field dozens of times, with Lillee coming out on top more often than not.

The pair first met in the 1974-75 Ashes series, when a young Richards made his Test debut. He didn’t make much of an impact in that series, but he would go on to become one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

Lillee, meanwhile, was already established as one of the world’s best fast bowlers. He took 24 wickets in that Ashes series, and would go on to take 355 wickets in his Test career.

The two men clashed again in the 1977-78 Ashes series, which was perhaps their most famous battle. In the first Test at Perth, Lillee bowled Richards for just six runs. It was a body blow to the West Indies, who went on to lose the match by just four runs.

Lillee had the last laugh in that series though, as he took 28 wickets to help Australia win 3-1. Richards fared better in the return series in the Caribbean later that year, scoring two centuries as the West Indies won 3-1.

Their final meeting came in 1984, when Lillee was nearing the end of his career and Richards was past his peak. Nevertheless, it was still a fiercely contested battle, with both men giving everything they had

Kevin Pietersen v Shane Warne

There have been many great batter-bowler rivalries in the history of Test cricket, but few can match the intensity and competitiveness of the Kevin Pietersen v Shane Warne rivalry.

Pietersen and Warne first clashed in the 2005 Ashes series, when Warne was recalled to the Australian squad after a three-year hiatus. The two men quickly established a fierce on-field rivalry, with Pietersen regularly taking on Warne’s spin bowling with aggressive strokeplay.

The Pietersen-Warne rivalry reached its peak during the 2006/07 Ashes series, when the two men engaged in a number of heated exchanges. The most infamous incident came during the final Test match at Sydney, when Pietersen hit Warne for six off the first ball he faced and then gestured to him to “come and get me”.

Since retiring from international cricket, Warne has said that Pietersen was the best batsman he ever bowled to, while Pietersen has described Warne as “the greatest bowler [he] ever faced”.

Brian Lara v Muttiah Muralitharan

There can be few greater rivalries in Test cricket than when two of the all-time greats go head to head. That was certainly the case when Brian Lara and Muttiah Muralitharan faced off against each other on numerous occasions.

Lara is widely regarded as one of the finest batsmen of all time, while Muralitharan is the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket history. Both men pushed each other to new heights in their battle for supremacy.

In terms of numbers, it is Lara who holds the upper hand over Muralitharan. The West Indian legend scored 1,487 runs at an average of 49.51 against the Sri Lankan spin wizard, while Muralitharan could only manage 362 wickets at an average of 34.83 against Lara.

However, it is worth noting that a large portion of those runs came in innings where Lara was already well established and looking to score big centuries. In contrast, Muralitharan often had to contend with Lara when he was fresh to the crease and looking to get off to a good start.

There is no doubt that both men raised their game when they went up against each other. It made for some thrilling contests that are still remembered fondly by cricket fans around the world.

Steve Waugh v Curtly Ambrose

In the history of Test cricket, there have been many great rivalries between batters and bowlers. One of the most famous is the rivalry between Steve Waugh and Curtly Ambrose.

The two first met in 1992, when Ambrose was just starting out in Test cricket, and Waugh was already established as one of the world’s best batsmen. The two went on to play against each other many times over the next few years, with Ambrose usually getting the better of Waugh. In their last meeting, in 1998, Waugh finally got the better of Ambrose, scoring a century off him in a Test match in Antigua. It was a sweet victory for Waugh, and one that he would always remember

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