It is 30 years to the day since India legend Sachin Tendulkar scored a match-saving maiden Test century against England at Old Trafford.

The 'Little Master' was still churning out the runs in his 200th and final Test more than 23 years later.

Tendulkar is comfortably the leading run-scorer in the history of Test cricket, having racked up a mammoth 15,921 at a staggering average of 53.78.

The elegant right-hander is the fifth-youngest player to make his Test debut – against fierce rivals Pakistan aged 16 years 205 days – back in November 1989 and bowed out on a high note with a half-century against West Indies well over two decades later.

With help from Opta, we look at some of the astonishing numbers Tendulkar amassed during his record double-century of Test appearances.

 

From boy to a man in Manchester

It was already apparently India had unearthed a gem in Tendulkar before his heroics in Manchester, but the teenager showed his incredible maturity on this day three decades ago.

Coming in at number six, he showed great application and skill to make a brilliant unbeaten 119 after contributing 68 in the first innings as India salvaged a draw on the final day.

Aged 17 years, three months and 21 days, he goes down as the third-youngest batsman to score a hundred in the longest format behind Mohammad Ashraful and Mushtaq Mohammad.

He went on to score almost twice as many Test runs as a teenager than anyone else (1,522).

 

A master at home and away 

There have been plenty of players over the years who have varying records playing at home and away, but Tendulkar is not among them.

He averaged 52.7 on home soil and 54.7 on tour, scoring 8,705 runs in 106 Tests outside of India and 7,216 in 94 games in his country of birth.

Tendulkar also scored three of his Test double-centuries away from home and as many in front of his adoring fans in India.

 

A half-century of centuries, Australia a happy hunting ground

No batsman has made as many Test centuries as the 47-year-old icon.

The majestic middle-order talisman reached three figures as many as 51 times, with 22 of those achieved in his homeland. 

Tendulkar also has fond memories of batting in Australia, where he crafted 11 Test hundreds and chalked up nine in Sri Lanka. He also struck 68 Test half-centuries in a magnificent career.

 

A record-breaking 2010

While Tendulkar can reflect on such a special day 30 years ago, he also has plenty of fond memories to look back on from a decade ago.

He was unstoppable in 2010, scoring seven Test centuries: with two against Bangladesh, a couple versus South Africa before double-hundreds against Sri Lanka and Australia.

Only Mohammad Yousuf has more in a calendar year, the Pakistan batsman making a jaw-dropping nine in 2006. Tendulkar also scored 1,000 Test runs in six calendar years – which no other player has achieved.

 

Leading by example

Judging by the numbers, the captaincy did not weigh too heavily on Tendulkar's shoulders.

He averaged 51.4 in 25 Tests as skipper compared to 54.2 in 286 knocks without that responsibility.

There were seven hundreds and the same amount of half-centuries in Tendulkar's 43 visits to the crease during his captaincy.

Christopher Henry Gayle is arguably the greatest One-Day International batsman the West Indies has ever produced but today his innings in the Ultimate XI ODI edition came up short.

Gayle had, yesterday, avoided the cut and made the final six among contestants vying for the honour of being one of the two best openers the game has ever seen.

According to the SportsMax panel of experts, Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar would form the greatest partnership the game to ever grace an ODI cricket pitch.

That would leave other greats like South Africa’s Hashim Amla, Sri Lankan legend Tillakaratne Dilshan, Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar, and, of course, Gayle as bystanders.

According to the SportsMax Zone, Sharma and Tendulkar are also the best it could come up with from the shortlist of 12, of course, the Zone did not do the culling of the herd the panel did yesterday.

For the unitiated, Rohit Sharma has scored as many ODI double hundreds as there are people who have scored them, while Tendulkar is by far and away, the heaviest ODI runscorer in the history of the sport and their picks may be hard to disagree with.

Unless, of course, you’re a Fanalyst.

Fanalysts have, so far, chosen Chris Gayle as one of their two openers and have also disagreed with the choice of Tendulkar to be the man to join him, instead going for Sharma.

Tendulkar, is at this point, the reserve option for the Fanalysts, but that could all change.

Have your say in the conversation by going to SportsMax.tv and clicking on the banner, or following the link here.

The Ultimate Test XI is done and the fans have made their votes count, overruling a panel of experts and the SportsMax Zone to pick two spinners in their line-up.

From jump street, the fans looked as if they would not be swayed by the opinions of the Zone and the panel, who had to get their ducks in a row if they wanted the final say on who makes SportsMax’s Ultimate XI.

Whereas all were agreed that India’s Sunil Gavaskar was probably the greatest opener the world has ever seen as was a shoo-in for the first opening spot on offer, the fans disagreed with the panel and the Zone on the other opener. Hands down, Fanalysts believed Gordon Greenidge, despite boasting a lower average than most in the Ultimate XI Test shortlist, was the man for the job.

The Fanalysts were outvoted as the Zone, who had 30% of all votes and the panel, who had another 30, believed Australia’s Matthew Hayden the man to walk to the crease in partnership with Gavaskar.

Then there were other differences of opinion. According to the panel, the greatest middle-order batsmen of all time, read Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sir Vivian Richards.

The Zone team, despite being made up of solely Caribbean journalists, disagreed. Sir Viv, they said could not fill the third spot in that middle order ahead of an Australian, Sir Donald Bradman.

The Fanalysts agreed and put the weight of their 40% of the vote squarely behind the Australian great.

So now the fans missed out on one of their picks for opener and the panel missed out on one of their picks for a middle-order batsman.

At the allrounder position and the wicketkeeper position, there was unison as Fanalysts, Zone and panel believed Sir Garfield Sobers should fill the former position, while Australia’s Adam Gilchrist is the best the world has ever seen don gloves.

It is in the bowling category that the most controversy was expected and that’s where the most variance occurred.

According to the Zone, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Wasim Akram and Muttiah Muralitharan would provide the greatest bowling attack the world has ever seen.

The panel disagreed.

The panel, believed Marshall a shoo-in, New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee could not be left out, and South Africa’s Dale Steyn was the final pacer to make up a bowling attack that had one spinner in Muttiah Muralitharan.

Hadlee never stood a chance for the Fanalysts, and neither did Steyn for that matter.

For the Fanalysts, a choice between Muralitharan and Warne, the two bowlers with the most wickets in the history of Test cricket, was too difficult to make and they picked both.

That left space for just two pacers and the all-West-Indian pairing of Marshall and Ambrose was the obvious choice.

With 30 per cent of the vote going to Hadlee, and another 30 per cent going to Steyn, Warne easily made his way into the Ultimate XI with the Fanalysts offering him up with their 40.

Based on all the Ultimate XI profiles have told you about these players, tell us who was right.

Were the fans who got their way with Bradman and the two spinners right? Or is there something to be said for the experts who went with Hadlee and Steyn, or even the Zone, who decided on Akram?

Were the Fanalysts accurate in going against the grain with picking Greenidge ahead of Hayden, or were the Zone and the panel correct in overruling them?  

Crazy or not, we are trusting the Fanalysts again with our Ultimate XI ODI team. 

Check out the shortlist below, tell me who you would pick in the comments section on Facebook and Twitter then go and vote after we tell you how wrong you are. Voting begins later today after the SportsMax Zone on SportsMax.tv.

 

Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for the highest tally of runs in Test as well as ODI cricket.

He was the first batsman to score a double century in the white ball game. 

He was a nightmare for captains setting the field, as his range and repertoire of strokes had multiple answers to questions posed by bowlers. If there was one stroke from his wide cornucopia which left onlookers spellbound it was his back drive - often just a defensive half-push - that blazed to the straightest part of the ground.

 

Career Statistics 

Full name: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

Born: 24 April 1973 (age 47)

Place of birth: Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India

Height: 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)

Batting style: Right-handed

Playing role: Top-order batsman

 

ODI Career: India (1989–2012)

Mat     Inns  NO       Runs       HS    Ave      BF       SR     100s     50s     4s    6s   

463     452     41       18426      200*  44.83  21368   86.23    49       96     2016  195    

 

Career Highlights

  • Leading run-scorer in One-Day Internationals, with 18,426 runs.
  • Holds the record of the highest number of centuries in ODIs (49)
  • Holds the world record for playing the highest number of ODI matches (463).
  • Has scored over 1000 runs in a calendar year in ODIs 7 times
  • In 1998 he scored 1,894 runs, the record for the highest number of runs scored by any player in a single calendar year for ODIs.
  • He is the first male cricketer to score a double-century in one-day cricket.
  • 1997 Wisden Cricketer of the Year
  • 1998, 2010 Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World.
  • 2003 – Player of the tournament in 2003 Cricket World Cup.
  • 2004, 2007, 2010 – ICC World ODI XI.

A quick look at the stats of legendary South African all-rounder suggests that he should not just routinely be part of conversations that speak about the best all-rounder of all-time but perhaps the best of all-time.

Instead, it seems the South African has been found short of ground in another routine legend ranking discussion, finishing behind the incomparable Garfield Sobers and it seems struggling to finish ahead of Imran Khan, in the latest Ultimate XI Test cricket all-rounder choice.

Let’s get this straight, if Kallis is to come up short it will certainly never be on the weight of his statistics.

The batsman’s Test record compares favourably with almost any other batsman of modern times.  In terms of run scored, his total of 13,289 is third on the all-time list, bettered by only Ricky Ponting (13,378) and Sachin Tendulkar (15,921). 

In fact, Kallis has scored some 1,336 more runs than Brian Lara, a man who is generally considered as one of the four best batsmen of all time, and in some instances, the best. In terms of averages, he has a higher average than Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid, and Ponting. Compared to batsmen who have made debuts in the past 30 years, only Kumar Sangakkara, Steve Smith, and Adam Voges (who only played 20 Tests) can top Kallis’ career average of 55.37.

His 45 Test centuries is second on the all-time list behind Tendulkar’s 51 and four ahead of Ponting and lest we forget he was just short of 300 Test wickets with 292 at 32.65.

But, despite constantly etching his name above the greats some have found it easy to dismiss Kallis's case because he lacked one factor many of his contemporaries possess. He was unspectacular.

The South African simply got the job done with very little fanfare. Best summed up in his own words; “I think it was my personality. I never really enjoyed the limelight, I liked going about my business and just getting on with the job. I never played the game for accolades or anything like that.”

For some, that has been enough to relegate one of the greatest players of a generation to a mere consideration, or well below what his achievements merit in the debate on greatness, but it shouldn’t be.

Panellists and the SportsMax Zone have gone through their picks for the batsmen who will make up SportsMax’s Ultimate XI Test team but fans (Fanalysts) are still coming up with theirs. The differences in opinions are there and all three groups have good arguments for them.

As far as openers go, both the SportsMax Zone and Panellists agree that Matthew Hayden and Sunil Gavaskar should be the first to face the bowling of any team that may be created to challenge the Ultimate XI Test lineup. The fans though, believe Gordon Greenidge should join Gavaskar at the opening position.

As far as batsmen 3-5 go, the Zone has picked Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Don Bradman, while the panellists have replaced Bradman with Sir Vivian Richards.

The Fanalysts have sided with panellists so far, meaning the batting line-up for the Ultimate XI at this point could look this way.

Sunil Gavaskar will face the first ball while Matthew Hayden will be at the non-striker’s end, while Sachin Tendulkar comes at three with Brian Lara walking at four. At the moment, Viv Richards is walking at five.

If this doesn’t represent your Ultimate XI you can change it by voting for the makeup of your team. The fanalyst vote counts for 40% of the overall decision and you can vote as many times as you want until May 22.

Click the link here to start voting or to submit your XI again.

Sachin Tendulkar’s heavenly gifts redefined cricketing statistics: the only batsman to score 100 international centuries, the only player to play 200 Tests, the only batsman to score 30,000 international runs, and the owner of the highest number of runs and hundreds in both Tests and ODIs.

He was a nightmare for captains setting the field as his range and repertoire of strokes had multiple answers to questions posed by bowlers. If there was one stroke from his wide cornucopia which left onlookers spellbound it was the batsman’s’-back drive - often just a defensive half-push - that blazed through the straightest part of the ground.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

Born: April 24, 1973 (age 47)

Place of birth: Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India

Height: 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)

Batting style: Right-handed

Bowling style: Right-arm medium, leg break, off break

Role: Batsman

 

Test Career: India (1989-2013)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave     100s    50s         

200    329    33     15921      248*   53.78      51     68             

 

Career highlights

  • Regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time
  • Leading run scorer in Tests (15,921)
  • Most centuries in Tests (51)
  • Named ESPNCricinfo’s Cricketer of the Generation (2014)
  • Inducted into ICC Hall of Fame (2019)
  • Laureus World Sports Award for Best Sporting Moment (2000-2020)
  • Given several awards in India including highest for sports (1997-98)

Virat Kohli has the talent, fitness and drive to break Sachin Tendulkar's all-time runs record, according to Brett Lee.

India great Tendulkar, who celebrated his 47th birthday on Friday, retired in 2013 having scored 34,357 international runs across all formats in a 24-year career.

No other batsman has gone beyond 29,000 runs, yet current India captain Kohli is the leading active player, amassing 21,901 runs in 416 matches since debuting in 2008.

Kohli currently has a higher one-day international average - 59.33 to Tendulkar's 44.83 - and his Test number is similar - 53.62 to 53.78 - while the 31-year-old averages above 50 in Twenty20 cricket, too.

"We are talking about phenomenal numbers here, so you mentioned seven to eight years of cricket and at the rate [Kohli] is going, yes, he can definitely knock it off," former Australian bowler Lee said on Star Sports.

"It comes down to three things, there is one thing I would like to eliminate - so, you talk about talent as a batsman, he's definitely got that talent, eliminate that first and foremost.

"Then fitness - Virat Kohli has got that fitness, so for me it is all about fitness at the age of 30 and also that mental strength, the mental capacity to get through those hard times, being away from home, from his wife, or when they will have children.

"He will do it easily with his talent, it comes down to his mental strength and if he stays fit enough and I believe he has got all those three components to go past Sachin."

Having backed Kohli to better the marks of another India great, Lee was quick to point out the high esteem he holds Tendulkar in.

"But, how can you say someone can go past Sachin Tendulkar," he added. "This is God here, can someone go better than God? We will wait and see."

The NFL is currently completing its first virtual draft in 2020, 16 years on from a dramatic draft day that changed the league's recent history.

Eli Manning was taken at number one overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, but that was not where the quarterback ended up going.

It is eight years since this date in the calendar produced a match that will never be forgotten by supporters of Chelsea, after their famous battle against Barcelona.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on April 24.

 

2012: Chelsea reach first Champions League final

Chelsea and Barcelona have had their fair share of epic Champions League battles over the years and this meeting in 2012 was no different.

The Blues, under an interim manager in Roberto Di Matteo, looked to be on the brink of elimination when Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta had Barca two goals up on the night, with captain John Terry having been sent off. 

Trailing 2-1 on aggregate, Ramires scored a magnificent chip for the 10 men and it looked like it might just be their night when Lionel Messi smashed a second-half penalty against the crossbar. 

Barca were dominant, but they could not find a third goal and Fernando Torres raced clear in a late counter-attack to make it 2-2 on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate, one of their most memorable wins ever.

Chelsea went on to win their first Champions League final against hosts Bayern Munich on penalties.

2004: Manning snubs Chargers for Giants

Eli Manning made it clear he did not wish to play for the Chargers (then from San Diego rather than Los Angeles) when he came into the 2004 NFL Draft as the leading college prospect.

His father Archie had cited reports about how the Chargers had treated fellow QB Ryan Leaf as evidence for why his son did not want to play there.

The Chargers selected him nonetheless, while the Giants picked QB Philip Rivers at four, and a trade was promptly worked out between the two teams.

It was a move that changed the recent history of the NFL, as Manning went on to guide the Giants to two dramatic Super Bowl triumphs, both against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Rivers had an impressive 16 seasons with the Chargers but fell short of postseason glory and will now try to go all the way with his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, in 2020.

Another two-time Super Bowl champion, Ben Roethlisberger, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers at number 11.

He, like Rivers, is back vying for glory this year, while Manning retired after being usurped by Daniel Jones in New York.

1973: Sachin Tendulkar is born

April 24, 1973 was a great day in the history of Indian cricket, as Sachin Tendulkar was born.

The legendary batsman was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) and made his Test debut against Pakistan as a 16-year-old.

What followed was a career that produced 15,921 runs and 51 centuries, which are both records in the longest form of the game.

The Little Master also racked up 18,426 runs in ODIs, another record mark that sees him stand alone atop the charts.

2018: Liverpool 5-2 Roma in memorable UCL semi

Liverpool’s front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah combined for five goals in the space of 68 minutes as the Reds blew Roma away in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie at Anfield. 

Two late goals from the Italians gave them a faint glimmer of hope, and they ended up just one goal short of forcing extra time in a return leg which they won 4-2.

Liverpool lost the eventual final to Real Madrid, but made amends by winning the trophy in 2019, beating Premier League rivals Tottenham in the final.

2019: Lillard hits stunning game-winner to settle series

On this day last year, the Portland Trail Blazers had not won a playoff series in the previous two seasons, but that all changed when Damian Lillard drained a three-pointer from 37 feet to settle a thrilling battle against Russell Westbrook, Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Portland led 3-1 but game five was on a knife edge at 115-115 before Lillard produced a moment of brilliance as time expired.

The team went on to beat the Denver Nuggets in seven games to reach the Conference Finals, where the Golden State Warriors blew them away in a clean sweep.

George and Westbrook now play for new teams, but Lillard remains the Blazers' leading man.

Alex Ferguson and David Moyes will remember April 22 as significant days in their Manchester United managerial careers for vastly contrasting reasons.

While for Red Devils legend Ferguson it is a day that ensured he bowed out from the game as a winner, something he became very accustomed to being at Old Trafford, for Moyes it is a day where a prophecy went unfulfilled.

Lennox Lewis will want to remember the date about as much as Moyes, while Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne engaged in a memorable showdown.

Below we take a look back at some significant moments of sporting history on April 22.


2013 – Van Persie treble delivers one last title for Fergie

It was unbeknownst at the time but Robin van Persie's superb first-half hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa – including that volley from Wayne Rooney's assist – would take on extra significance.

The victory ensured United wrested the title back from rivals Manchester City, delivering a 13th Premier League trophy under Ferguson and a 20th top-flight triumph for the club overall.

Just over a couple of weeks later, Ferguson announced he would be stepping down after 26 glorious years that returned 38 trophies.

Ferguson is reported to have hand-picked Moyes personally as his successor, leading to him being dubbed the 'Chosen One' by the United faithful…

2014 – The 'Chosen One' done

Exactly a year later and the situation was worlds apart from the celebrations that saw United toast their latest title triumph.

Moyes was sacked just 10 months into a six-year contract with the champions, with United languishing down in seventh and guaranteed to record their lowest-ever points tally in the Premier League.

United particularly struggled at Old Trafford, so long a formidable fortress under Ferguson, while fans grew impatient with a docile style of play.

Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have been and gone without returning United to the top of the pile, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's experiment remains a work in progress.

2001 – Lewis shocked by underdog Rahman

Lennox Lewis was the overwhelming favourite for the 'Thunder in Africa' against 20-1 shot Hasim Rahman in South Africa back in 2001.

But in one of the greatest upsets in boxing history, Lewis was floored by a strong right in the fifth round leaving the Briton unable to answer the count and surrendering his WBC and IBF heavyweight belts.

By November of that year, Lewis – after some legal wrangling – had his rematch and regained the belts with a fourth-round knockout.

1998 – Tendulkar goes after Warne

The record books will show Australia victorious by 26 runs, with India falling short in a revised target.

But the match against India was remembered for one particular legend v legend moment between Warne and Tendulkar.

Tendulkar masterfully judged the flight of Warne's delivery, smothered the spin and with astounding speed whacked the ball into the billboards at long-on.

Warne wiped the sweat off his face, knowing the personal battle on that occasion was emphatically lost.

Despite an incredible comeback against Liverpool to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, 2019-20 was looking like far from a vintage season for Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone's side sat sixth in LaLiga when the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of most sport around the world and had suffered a humiliating Copa del Rey exit to third-tier Cultural Leonesa in January.

However, six years ago they took a significant step in one of the most memorable campaigns in their history.

We look back at that and other standout sporting moments that occurred on April 9 through the years.

 

1912 – A Fenway first

It may not quite have been finished yet, but Fenway Park opened its doors for the first time for an exhibition match between the Boston Red Sox and the Harvard Crimson. After being forced to change at the nearby Park Riding School due to the clubhouse not being open yet, the players trudged through the snowy conditions to the diamond for the start of a new era. Casey Hageman threw Fenway Park's first pitch for the Red Sox to Harvard batter Dana Joseph Paine Wingate and he soon had the first of nine strikeouts.

1989 – Faldo in green

After heading into moving day in a tie for the lead, Faldo's hopes of triumphing at Augusta National and winning a second major appeared to be over when he slipped five shots off the pace upon completing his third round on Sunday morning. However, he ended up with the clubhouse lead later in the day by carding a brilliant seven-under 65 and a missed five-foot par putt on the 17th for Scott Hoch meant the two went into a play-off. Hoch's putting again let him down as he failed to close out the first sudden-death hole from two feet, and Faldo punished him by rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt at the next to don the green jacket for the first time. He would go on to win the tournament twice more.

1995 – Tendulkar shows signs of greatness to come

At the age of 21, the man who would go on to be dubbed the 'Little Master' scored his fourth ODI century as India defeated Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup match in Sharjah. Thanks to Tendulkar's outstanding 112 not out, India chased down their victory target of 203 with just under 17 of their 50 overs remaining. Tendulkar consequently became the youngest player to reach 3,000 ODI runs.

2013 – Dortmund deliver incredible comeback

There is something special about Champions League nights at Signal Iduna Park and the second leg of Dortmund's quarter-final against Malaga delivered a thoroughly memorable game. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg at La Rosaleda, Joaquin put Malaga ahead in the 25th minute, but Robert Lewandowski ensured Jurgen Klopp's side went into half-time on level terms. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Dortmund when Eliseu tapped in a second away goal from close range with eight minutes remaining, leaving the hosts needing to score twice more to avoid elimination. Marco Reus pulled them level in the first added minute and Felipe Santana bundled home in the 93rd minute to complete an incredible turnaround – though he appeared to be offside when he turned Julian Schieber's goal-bound effort home.

2014 – Atletico back in the semi-finals

Simeone led Atletico to Europa League glory in his first season at the helm and added the Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup in 2012-13. They appeared to be destined for new heights when they claimed a 1-0 victory over Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon to seal a 2-1 aggregate victory and book their place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1974. Koke's back-post volley kept Atletico's hopes of a Champions League and LaLiga double alive, but they were only able to win the latter after Real Madrid beat them in the European final in Lisbon.

The argument regarding the players who should be ranked among the best of all time gets harder and harder as cricket evolves.

Batsmen are more dynamic and harder to contain these days, while bowlers had more advantages when you look back at it. There was even a time when pitches were uncovered and therefore much more of a nightmare to bat on.

Despite the ever-changing circumstances that most certainly impact the nature of performances over the decades, SportsMax’s editors have still been hardpressed to avoid the addiction of coming up with the answers to the age-old question of who is the greatest of all time.

As usual, we’ve come up with XI of them.

Now, the most challenging form of cricket is undoubtedly Test cricket. There might be a debate about which form of the game is best to watch, most profitable, which is the future of the game, all that. But there’s no argument that Test cricket has lived up to its name and is the hardest. This is why our XI will only have players who have played the longest format of the game.

Best XI

 

Don Bradman (Australia)

While many of the experts of the game today, never saw him play, it is still generally accepted that Sir Donald Bradman, with 29 centuries and 13 half-centuries from just 52 Test matches, is the greatest batsman to ever walk the planet. His average of 99.94 in Test cricket will likely never be matched. Interestingly, Bradman only hit six sixes in his glittering Test career.

Sachin Tendulkar (India)

If Bradman was the greatest, Sachin is the most complete batsman to ever play the game. The little magician’s batting is considered by those who wrote the textbook on the subject, to have the perfect mixture of balance, economy of movement, precision stroke-making, and most of all, anticipation. Sachin put all those together more often than not to average 53.78 from his 200 matches, getting to a century on 61 occasions and to a half-century on 68 others. Those statistics meant he amassed a mammoth 15,921 runs, by far the most of any batsman.

 

Brian Lara (West Indies)

Whenever the conversation about who is the greatest of all time comes up, the name Brian Charles Lara is never far away. Undoubtedly a genius, Lara still holds the world record for the most runs ever scored in a single Test innings. Lara’s 400 not out was not the first time the left-hander was putting together a score that nobody else had. Australia’s Matthew Hayden scored 380 against Zimbabwe to pass Lara’s first world-record effort of 375 against England but the diminutive left-hander would not be satisfied without breaking that record all over again. Lara’s first record-breaking effort bested Lara would score 34 centuries from 131 Tests at an average of 52.88. The Trinidad & Tobago native also scored 48 half-centuries, getting to 11,953 runs before he called it quits.

Vivian Richards (West Indies)

Sir Vivian Richards, the Master Blaster, turned Test cricket on its head with his brand of aggression. In a time when bowlers were the aggressors with the insistence on pace and bounce, Viv, changed the game, making bowlers quake at the sight of his nonchalance in the face of searing pace and his penchant for taking bowling attacks apart. Viv played 121 Test matches and ended with an average of 50.23 despite a long lean spell toward the end of his career. His highest score was 291 but his 24 centuries and 45 half-centuries were remarkable instances each time. There is many a bowler who, throughout the ‘80s hated to get wickets against the West Indies because that would mean the man who brought ‘swagger’ to cricket, would walk to the crease.

George Headley (West Indies)

Depending on where you hail from, George Headley is either the Black Bradman or Bradman is the white Headley. In 22 Tests, Headley scored a remarkable 10 centuries and five half-centuries including a highest score of 270 not out. Headley was the only batsman that stood between West Indies and regular capitulations. In fact, between 1929 and 1939, Headley did not have one bad Test series, scoring eight centuries against England and becoming the first immortal at Lord’s. Sir Len Hutton, a man who could easily make this list as one of the first batsmen who could be called a superstar, said he had never seen a batsman who played the ball later, making him a nightmare to set fields for.

 

Garfield Sobers (West Indies)

Sir Garfield Sobers is likely the finest all-rounder of all time, taking 235 wickets in his 93 Tests and scoring more than 8,000 runs in his 93 Tests. But his efforts as a batsman are by themselves, worthy of making him a certainty for this list. Sobers scored 26 hundreds in Test cricket but his first is something the game will never forget. In 14 previous Tests, Sobers had a highest score of 66 and averaged just 32.54. Though his talent was undeniable, Sobers was just not getting over that hump. Then Pakistan came calling. Sobers went into the third Test at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica having scored three half-centuries (52, 52 and 80) in the previous two. Walking in at number three with the score on 87-1, Sobers and Conrad Hunte would take the West Indies to 533-2 when Hunte fell for a brilliant 260. Sobers would keep batting, getting to 365 not out before the skipper Gerry Alexander declared the innings on 790-3. Until the era of Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, the argument for the greatest batsman of all time stood between Bradman and Sobers. Sobers also became the first man to hit six sixes in an over

 

Rahul Dravid (India)

Many of the great innings the world experienced from Sachin Tendulkar were made possible by the man known as ‘The Wall’. Steadily, Rahul Dravid created the reputation for being one of the finest batsmen in the world and started the Indian revolution, helping them become a team that was dangerous, not just at home.

His technique and robotic-like concentration would help him to 36 centuries and 63 half-centuries from his 164 Tests. His 13,288 runs have made him legendary in India but around the world too. Himself and Sourav Ganguly formed the backbone of a formidable Indian batting line-up and every team knew, that without getting out either or both, India were likely to come out the winning side.

 

Sunil Gavaskar (India)

The first man to get to 10,000 Test runs and score 30 centuries, make him most undoubtedly one of the greatest batsmen of all time. But Gavaskar has an even more interesting legacy. He is the man who made Indian cricket what it is today, teaching his teammates and the country of now over one billion, the importance of a professional approach to cricket. But outside of that, Gavaksar must be credited as one of the few batsmen to be able to score significantly against the West Indies all-pace attack of the 1980s, scoring 13 centuries against them. In fact, Gavaskar played five Tests at the Queen’s Park Oval, averaging 99.12 at the ground. Gavaskar was a fine opener, averaging 51.12 over the course of 125 Tests, scoring 34 centuries and 45 half-centuries with a highest score of 236 not out against the West Indies in 1983.

 

Jacques Kallis (South Africa)

Jacques Kallis is the only man to threaten Sir Garfield Sobers as the greatest allrounder of all time, and like his West Indian predecessor, his batting makes him a good fit for this list of some of the greatest batsmen of all time.

Kallis played 166 Tests and averaged 55.37 on his way to scoring a mammoth 45 centuries and 58 half-centuries on his way to putting together 13,289 runs. Kallis was part of South Africa’s second rebirth after being let back into international cricket and along with young skipper Graeme Smith, he led a fight-back to international prominence by performing at a remarkably high level for a long time.

 

Steve Waugh (Australia)

Steve Waugh is not the batsman that a ground outside of Australia might fill up to watch and it was largely agreed that his brother, Mark Waugh, was the more talented of the two batsmen. However, Steve’s drive to do well, mixed with hard work and a fine ability to read a situation from the middle of the pitch made for a career that was more than something to be proud of. Waugh led Australia to becoming the most dominant team in World cricket throughout the early 2000s, overtaking the West Indies for that title, with a symbolic 2-2 draw in the Caribbean. Interestingly, Waugh made that draw possible with a double century in the final Test at Sabina Park in Kingston that kick-started a spree of run-scoring that would not be halted until his retirement.

Waugh would play 168 Tests at an average of just over 51. That double century in Kingston was his highest score on the way to 10,927 runs. His 50 half-centuries meant there were very few times Waugh didn’t contribute to Australia’s eventual totals. Like Dravid and Ganguly were for India, Waugh was the rock that held the team together, the talented batsman evolving over time to a player who had eliminated risk from his game.

 

Kumar Sangakarra (Sri Lanka)

Kumar Sangakarra came into the Sri Lankan team on the back of careers like that of Arjuna Ranatunga and Asanka Gurusinha, who paved the way for dismissing the myth that batsmen from that area of the world could be blown off the pitch by good aggressive pace bowling. Sangakarra was decidedly a battler, but he added quite a bit of grace to the role, cementing his place in the side for 134 Tests in which he averaged 57.40. Sangakarra would end his Test career with 12,400 runs, 38 centuries and 52 half-centuries. Interestingly, nobody, not even the great Sachin Tendulkar, made it to 10,000 runs more quickly, the two being joint quickest to the milestone.

Legendary Australian seamer Glenn McGrath has picked West Indies great Brian Lara as a tougher opponent to face than Sachin Tendulkar.

The Australian bowler dismissed the West Indian star more than any other batsman, claiming Lara’s wicket 15 times in 24 matches.  McGrath also had good success in seeing off the Indian legend 13 times, one less than fellow Australian Brett Lee.

“I may have got him out 15 times, but he also scored big hundreds and double hundreds against us when both me and Warnie (Shane Warne) were playing together for Australia,” McGrath told the Times of India.

 “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,” he added.

Lara holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test after scoring 400 not out in 2004 against England.  The batsman could also be particularly brutal against Australia.  Lara struck 277 runs against Australia in Sydney, his maiden Test century and the fourth-highest maiden Test century by any batsman.

 

 

 

 

Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara rolled back the years as Cricket Australia raised over 7.7 million Australian dollars (£3.9million) in the fundraising Bushfire Cricket Bash on Sunday.

At Melbourne's Junction Oval, a Ricky Ponting XI beat an Adam Gilchrist XI by one run, with superstar line-ups turning out in support of the relief effort.

Former Australia captain Ponting made 26 from 14 balls and West Indies great Lara plundered 30 in the 10-overs-a-side match, as the Ponting XI made 104-5 from their allocation.

In the reply, Gilchrist scored 17 before he was bowled by former Australian rules star Luke Hodge, before Shane Watson cracked three sixes in a nine-ball 30 and Andrew Symonds added 29.

Ponting, Lara, Watson and Symonds all retired to give others a chance to shine in the charity contest, which saw bowlers including Peter Siddle, Courtney Walsh, Wasim Akram and Dan Christian come in for some uncharitable treatment from batsmen.

Brett Lee's 2-11 from two overs bucked the trend, as the former Baggy Green paceman took the wickets of Gilchrist XI stars Brad Hodge and Yuvraj Singh.

Tendulkar, who was named coach of the Ponting XI, made a crowd-pleasing cameo between innings when he faced an over shared by Ellyse Perry and Annabel Sutherland.

The Gilchrist XI then needed five from the final ball of their 10 overs, but ex-Aussie rules footballer Nick Riewoldt, attempting to club a six, could only scramble a three to leave his team just short on 103-6.

Cricket Australia centred the match around its Big Appeal campaign, with television coverage taking the match to a large audience, and its fundraising was boosted by an online auction.

At least 33 people died in Australia's bushfire crisis, with wildlife taking the brunt and homes and large areas of land being destroyed.

India great Sachin Tendulkar paid "special" Marnus Labuschagne the ultimate compliment by likening the in-form Australia batsman to himself.

Labuschagne has surged up the ICC men's Test batting rankings since making his debut in October 2018, sitting third behind Steve Smith and Virat Kohli.

Tendulkar, one of the most complete batsmen in history, scored a record 15,921 runs and 51 centuries in Tests, while also topping the charts in both factors in ODIs.

The India great was impressed by Labuschagne's display in the second Ashes Test in August, when he helped the tourists earn a draw.

Asked if there any are upcoming players that remind him of himself, Tendulkar said: "There are a number of players, but I happened to be watching the second Test at Lord's between England and Australia and when Steve Smith got injured in the first innings I saw Labuschagne's second innings.

"I saw Marnus getting hit [on the helmet by] the second ball he faced from Jofra Archer and post that, the 15 minutes he batted I said, 'This player looks special, there is something about him.'

"His footwork was precise and footwork is not physical, it's mental. If you're not thinking positively in your mind then your feet don't move. So that clearly indicated to me that this guy is mentally strong. His footwork was incredible."

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