Australia in India 2000-01 March 26, 2013

When McGrath mastered the Master

After two consecutive whitewashes, it's worth reflecting on some of the great passages of play between India and Australia - my favourite of which was the four-ball spell by Glenn McGrath to Sachin Tendulkar at Eden Gardens a dozen years ago
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Glenn McGrath celebrates Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal on the second day at Eden Gardens in 2001
Glenn McGrath celebrates Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal on the second day at Eden Gardens in 2001 © Getty Images

After two consecutive whitewashes, it's hard to resist the temptation to go all nostalgic about the great India-Australia contests of the past. I'll partly resist that temptation and pick my favourite passage of play between the two teams instead: the best four-ball spell ever. If cricket was an individual sport, the Tendulkar-McGrath rivalry in the 2001 series would have ranked right up with the Borg-McEnroe Wimbledon final of 1980, and the 2008 Wimbledon final between Federer and Nadal.

In the first Test in Mumbai, Sachin Tendulkar walked in two balls after Glenn McGrath had finished his spell, and got off to a cracking start with a flurry of stunning boundaries against Jason Gillespie and Damien Fleming. When McGrath came back with his probing line and disconcerting bounce, Tendulkar went through half an hour without scoring a run, played him out and continued his stellar show against the rest. In his next spell, McGrath resumed where he left off earlier, luring Tendulkar to play the drive on the rise, only for him to edge it through to Adam Gilchrist.

When Tendulkar came out to bat in the second innings, there was a distinct change in his stance. From his usual leg stump guard, he had changed to a middle stump guard to counter McGrath's metronomic ability to hit the corridor of uncertainty. By getting himself closer to the line, driving McGrath would be a less risky venture. As if to demonstrate the rationale for the change, Tendulkar opened his account with two delightful, starchy-crisp off-drives against McGrath. He continued to be cautious against McGrath after that but was a lot more decisive throughout this innings than he was in the first ... only to eventually get out in the most bizarre fashion, when a full-blooded pull shot off Mark Waugh ricocheted off Justin Langer's shoulder at short leg for Ricky Ponting to scamper across and complete a spectacular diving catch.

The teams then moved to Kolkata. With the score 34 for 2, Tendulkar walks out to join Dravid in the middle. McGrath has three slips and a gully in place - you wouldn't expect anything less with India still trailing 411 runs. And then you notice something unusual. McGrath, at the top of his run up, purposefully works on the shine of the ball. For someone primarily relying on seam movement, McGrath usually goes about shining the ball in a Pavlovian way, but never with so much intent. The first ball is yet to be bowled, but you can already see the contest shaping up. Tendulkar marks out the middle stump guard again; McGrath is constantly rubbing the ball against his trouser.

"McGrath bowled all of four balls to Tendulkar in this innings, out of which three could have got him, and one eventually did. Brilliant conception and masterly execution"

McGrath runs in to the rhythm of the Kolkata crowd - the rhythm which is partly fuelled by anticipation and partly by nerves. It reaches the crescendo at the point of delivery and beautifully fades out between the ball leaving McGrath's hand and Sachin reacting to it. But when the ball leaves McGrath's hand, it doesn't head to the usual destination of the corridor outside off. This was a sharp, precise, venomous inswinger on its way to Tendulkar's pads ... but Tendulkar just about manages to bring the bat down and flicks it, unconvincingly, to square leg for a couple.

Is that the cunning plan? Bowl it fuller, closer to the stumps, swinging in for Tendulkar to fall over and trap him in front? Is this a response to Tendulkar's change of guard which makes him more vulnerable to the lbw? Is Tendulkar so preoccupied with negating McGrath's corridor line that he wouldn't be prepared for this?

As if he had made it too evident with the first ball, McGrath follows up with a dummy short ball outside the off stump. Next comes the sucker ball again, nearly identical to the first one - a full, sharp, inswinger that catches Tendulkar unaware and offering no shot. McGrath appeals, nearly celebrates … but Tendulkar survives by the thinnest of margins.

End of over.

Six overs later, Dravid picks up a single to get Tendulkar back on strike to face McGrath for the first time since the lbw appeal. Again, McGrath working on the shine of the ball at the top of his run-up … he runs in and bowls the inevitable inswinger on a length, pitches just a tad outside the off stump, moves just marginally enough to beat Tendulkar's bat, but not too much to drag down the leg side. Bull's eye. McGrath knew it the moment it hit the pad, umpire Peter Willey fulfilling the formality of raising his finger while McGrath was already on his celebratory run.

In all these years of watching Tendulkar bat, I have never seen a bowler so clearly outfoxing him. Some people have popped out vague theories on his weaknesses before but nothing so specific, and surely never so precisely exploited. McGrath bowled all of four balls to Tendulkar in this innings, out of which three could have got him, and one eventually did. Brilliant conception and masterly execution.

Glenn McGrath. Legend.

When he's not watching / talking / tweeting / reading cricket, Mahesh Sethuraman works in a bank in India to pay his bills. He tweets @cornerd

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricket_pass on March 26, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    Sandy,

    You clearly do not remember all the battles. McGrath (vs) Tendulkar is a 50-50 tie if you had followed all the games.

    1. In the 99 series in Australia, no one had Sachin's number. McGrath got him twice, both 50-50 decisions going in his favor (the shoulder before wicket and an lbw, after Sachin hit 14 off him in that over). Add to this another not-out (off the pad off Warne in the First Test). Still he got a 100, 2 50's and a 45 and won the Man of the Series.

    2. In the epic 2001 series (same one as this blog item), he got a 100 and 2 70's. Hardly a failure in a 3-test series.

    3. For the 2003 WC dismissal (where Sachin was going for quick runs after the bowlers leaked 300+), I can point to the 96 WC where Sachin scored a brilliant counter-attacking 90 that included several boundaries off McGrath.

    4. There was a Champions Trophy game where Sachin scored only 38 but his attack on McGrath set the tone and enabled India to win the game.

  • sandy_bangalore on March 26, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    I have grown up in the 90s and clearly remember all the McGrath vs Tendulkar battles. In fact one thing that many Indians conveniently forget is that when Tendulkar was playing all those innings in 1998-99 vs the Aussies, one man was missing-McGrath. Much has been made of those innings, but it would be good to give us a reality check by pointing out that the Aussie attack was mainly a second string one. McGrath didnt play at all in India and in Sharjah. Gillespie was injured, and B Lee hadnt made his debut yet. The bowling was led by Fleming, whose swing was fit just for english conditions, Kasprowicz(test career: less than 100 wkts @ 32 avg), and some legendary spinners called Robertson,mcintyre etc. And Shane warne was coming off a shoulder surgery. And on the flat pitches, tendulkar hammered them. But we saw how Mcgrath had his number in the 99 series in Aus, and in the 1999 and 2003 wc as well. Great bowler!

  • Mittaraghava on March 29, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    I have made this observation since a very long time that if there is a bowler who would not accept from his heart that Tendulker is the greatest batsman,he would be Glen Magrath and Magrath would surly accept B.Lara as his greatest batsman.The reason being Tendulker never dominated Magrath bowling in one whole innings especially the last few series before Magrath's retirement ,the encounters between Magrath and Tendulker were onesided.On the contrary when Lara played a great knocks against Aussies,he spared no bowler including Magrath.I am an ardent fan of Tendulker but facts cannot b eoverlooked.

  • on March 29, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    somebody mentioned here that it is a "completely one sided story". that is the case with most discussions which praise tendulkar sky high. this article is good for a change.

  • on March 29, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    I can hardly remember Sachin dominating any great bowler like Akram, Mcgrath, Donald or Ambrose. Sachin is without any doubt great batsman but among the greats, he is surely overrated. I remember the final of World Cup in 2003 when India was chasing a big total and every body was relying on Tendulkar but I was sure that he will not survive the attack of Mcgrath and rest is history.

  • cricecil on March 28, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    When McGrath debuted Sachin brand was already a craze. Every bowler in the opposition wanted his wicket. The McGrath-Sachin battles were always a treat. McGrath is truly a legend.. he earns the tag of a legend more due to his duels with other legendary cricketrs namely Lara & Sachin than his impeccable test record. However as a simple sports lover i would go miles to watch a sachin bat at his prime when it comes to batting but when it comes to bowling there were so many other bowlers who entertained more in the mcgrath-sachin era than Mcgrath. (Wasim, Warne, Waqar, Walsh, Ambrose, Saqlain, Muralitharan, Donald, Bond)

  • BhushanGujrathi on March 28, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    A completely one sided story

  • AnishSomani on March 28, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @heat seeker,It proves the attack was good but not good enough for Sachin .With Warne Mgrath and Lee the attack were even to Sachin with a lot of classy battles. Other than that I agree with you

  • UglyPakistani on March 28, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    @UglyIndian - Mcgrath must then be a bit silly to name Tendulkar as the best or among the best he has played against. In ODIs Mcgrath did get Tendulkar often early because the openers have no option but to go for shots ...You can't see a bowler "off" in ODIs- no time. In the two full series Mcgrath and Tendulkar played things were fairly even. 6 50+ scores in 12 inn. In the first test they played Tendulkar came out chasing some 10 runs to win. In the 2004 series Tendulkar was literally forced to play inspite of recovering from Tennis elbow after India lost the first 2 tests of the series. So, in the only 2 full series they played against each other when both were fit Tendulkar has SIX scores of 50+ in 12 inn...And even in these 12 inn. there were wrong and freak dismissals ....Cheers.

  • UglyIndian on March 28, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Well...to be honest, McGrath has almost always had Tendullkar's number. Apart from a few wild slogs in an ODI in Nairobi, I can't recall Tendulkar dominating McGrath. If anything, McGrath has made Tendulkar look ordinary many a times. It's perhaps an inconvenient truth for many Tendulkar fanboys. The test series down-underin 1999-2000 where Tendulkar got a 100 at the MCG, but basically, couldn't get a run off McGrath. Similarly in the ODI tri-series that followed Tendulkar was completely owned by McGrath. Whats funnier, is that Tendulkar averages even worse in home Tests against GD McGrath than his 36.77. It's not when McGrath mastered the master. It has always been that McGrath was ther master.

  • cricket_pass on March 26, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    Sandy,

    You clearly do not remember all the battles. McGrath (vs) Tendulkar is a 50-50 tie if you had followed all the games.

    1. In the 99 series in Australia, no one had Sachin's number. McGrath got him twice, both 50-50 decisions going in his favor (the shoulder before wicket and an lbw, after Sachin hit 14 off him in that over). Add to this another not-out (off the pad off Warne in the First Test). Still he got a 100, 2 50's and a 45 and won the Man of the Series.

    2. In the epic 2001 series (same one as this blog item), he got a 100 and 2 70's. Hardly a failure in a 3-test series.

    3. For the 2003 WC dismissal (where Sachin was going for quick runs after the bowlers leaked 300+), I can point to the 96 WC where Sachin scored a brilliant counter-attacking 90 that included several boundaries off McGrath.

    4. There was a Champions Trophy game where Sachin scored only 38 but his attack on McGrath set the tone and enabled India to win the game.

  • sandy_bangalore on March 26, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    I have grown up in the 90s and clearly remember all the McGrath vs Tendulkar battles. In fact one thing that many Indians conveniently forget is that when Tendulkar was playing all those innings in 1998-99 vs the Aussies, one man was missing-McGrath. Much has been made of those innings, but it would be good to give us a reality check by pointing out that the Aussie attack was mainly a second string one. McGrath didnt play at all in India and in Sharjah. Gillespie was injured, and B Lee hadnt made his debut yet. The bowling was led by Fleming, whose swing was fit just for english conditions, Kasprowicz(test career: less than 100 wkts @ 32 avg), and some legendary spinners called Robertson,mcintyre etc. And Shane warne was coming off a shoulder surgery. And on the flat pitches, tendulkar hammered them. But we saw how Mcgrath had his number in the 99 series in Aus, and in the 1999 and 2003 wc as well. Great bowler!

  • Mittaraghava on March 29, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    I have made this observation since a very long time that if there is a bowler who would not accept from his heart that Tendulker is the greatest batsman,he would be Glen Magrath and Magrath would surly accept B.Lara as his greatest batsman.The reason being Tendulker never dominated Magrath bowling in one whole innings especially the last few series before Magrath's retirement ,the encounters between Magrath and Tendulker were onesided.On the contrary when Lara played a great knocks against Aussies,he spared no bowler including Magrath.I am an ardent fan of Tendulker but facts cannot b eoverlooked.

  • on March 29, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    somebody mentioned here that it is a "completely one sided story". that is the case with most discussions which praise tendulkar sky high. this article is good for a change.

  • on March 29, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    I can hardly remember Sachin dominating any great bowler like Akram, Mcgrath, Donald or Ambrose. Sachin is without any doubt great batsman but among the greats, he is surely overrated. I remember the final of World Cup in 2003 when India was chasing a big total and every body was relying on Tendulkar but I was sure that he will not survive the attack of Mcgrath and rest is history.

  • cricecil on March 28, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    When McGrath debuted Sachin brand was already a craze. Every bowler in the opposition wanted his wicket. The McGrath-Sachin battles were always a treat. McGrath is truly a legend.. he earns the tag of a legend more due to his duels with other legendary cricketrs namely Lara & Sachin than his impeccable test record. However as a simple sports lover i would go miles to watch a sachin bat at his prime when it comes to batting but when it comes to bowling there were so many other bowlers who entertained more in the mcgrath-sachin era than Mcgrath. (Wasim, Warne, Waqar, Walsh, Ambrose, Saqlain, Muralitharan, Donald, Bond)

  • BhushanGujrathi on March 28, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    A completely one sided story

  • AnishSomani on March 28, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @heat seeker,It proves the attack was good but not good enough for Sachin .With Warne Mgrath and Lee the attack were even to Sachin with a lot of classy battles. Other than that I agree with you

  • UglyPakistani on March 28, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    @UglyIndian - Mcgrath must then be a bit silly to name Tendulkar as the best or among the best he has played against. In ODIs Mcgrath did get Tendulkar often early because the openers have no option but to go for shots ...You can't see a bowler "off" in ODIs- no time. In the two full series Mcgrath and Tendulkar played things were fairly even. 6 50+ scores in 12 inn. In the first test they played Tendulkar came out chasing some 10 runs to win. In the 2004 series Tendulkar was literally forced to play inspite of recovering from Tennis elbow after India lost the first 2 tests of the series. So, in the only 2 full series they played against each other when both were fit Tendulkar has SIX scores of 50+ in 12 inn...And even in these 12 inn. there were wrong and freak dismissals ....Cheers.

  • UglyIndian on March 28, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Well...to be honest, McGrath has almost always had Tendullkar's number. Apart from a few wild slogs in an ODI in Nairobi, I can't recall Tendulkar dominating McGrath. If anything, McGrath has made Tendulkar look ordinary many a times. It's perhaps an inconvenient truth for many Tendulkar fanboys. The test series down-underin 1999-2000 where Tendulkar got a 100 at the MCG, but basically, couldn't get a run off McGrath. Similarly in the ODI tri-series that followed Tendulkar was completely owned by McGrath. Whats funnier, is that Tendulkar averages even worse in home Tests against GD McGrath than his 36.77. It's not when McGrath mastered the master. It has always been that McGrath was ther master.

  • Leggie on March 28, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Brilliant recollection of that test match Mahesh. McGrath certainly got the better of Tendulkar. But the master hat he is, he came back strongly in the next test to score a century. I don't agree with some of the comments where people conclude that Sachin got the better of McGrath only on good batting conditions. It was 50-50. The 1999 series was a classic where Sachin scored a majestic century and averaged 45 - despite a couple of wrong decisions and an unfortunate "shoulder before wicket" and burdened by captaining one of the weakest team to tour Australia. Sachin was at the peak of his prowess then and he was extremely unfortunate in that series not to have scored more. Then the series in India in 2001 was played on GOOD test wickets - wickets that offered pace, bounce and spin on days 4/5 - and Sachin had a 50+ average. McGrath got the better of Sachin in good bowling conditions only in ODIs where there was also a pressure to score quick. Otherwise, my rating would be 50-50.

  • CricFan24 on March 28, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    So - to stress. Mcgrath was a great bowler. But once you got the hang of him - it was relatively easy to score. VVS, Lara, Pietersen, Vaughn, Adams, Dravid...In the Wisden top 100 bowling lists Mcgrath doesnt appear once...but innings AGAINST Mcgrath appear5 times in the top 50 Test innings alone !! 10% of the top 50 Test inn. have been played against Mcgrath...Surely, that tells you something.

  • on March 28, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    We Indians have very poor memory . Sachin has won some of the firecest battles on the cricket pitch and in his formative years atleast for the first 10 years, he carried the mantle of Indian batting on his responsible shoulders. He batted beautifully against Akram SAQULAIN, Mcgrath etc. The way he dominated when the entire fate of Indian batting revolved around him is incomparable. There is one and only one Sachin. Nobody who has played crciket is 50% as good as him

  • CricFan24 on March 28, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    @sifter -Tendulkar played 18 inn. in matches "involving" mcgrath. In Lara's first 18 inn the avg is the same.Lara then got the hang of Mcgrath.In the 2 full series Tendulkar played against Mcgrath he avg. 46 and 51. These include 2 Hundreds and 4 Fifties. Also other bowlers got Tendulkar often not to mention several contentious decisions - Shoulder before wicket, pad catch off warne, freak dismissals caught off shortlegs shoulder etc. Lara too improved in matches against Mcgrath as he went on...In his first 18 inn. he avg. the same as Tendulkar..then he got the "hang" of Mcgrath as time went on...Basically, play out Mcgrath and you've almost guaranteed yourself a good score....There have been more big innings played against Mcgrath than any other top bowler i can remember - by VVS, Lara, Pietersen, Vaughn, Adams, Dravid...In the Wisden top 100 bowling lists Mcgrath doesnt appear once...but innings AGAINST Mcgrath appear multiple times !

  • on March 28, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    No doubt McGrath is one of the all time finest bowlers...how we had butterflies in the stomach when he comes to bowl..u very well know that some thing is gonna happen..as a cricket follower one has to admit that he most definitely had an upper hand against Tendulkar 7 out of 10 times. I used to joke with friends that if you wake up McGrath at 2.00 AM and ask him to bowl he will still bowl that same ol nagging line n length balls...hats off this gr8 cricketer

  • on March 27, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    Give credit where credit is due- Mcgrath is not a great sports person but as a crickter, his skill is incredible and as an indian, I have to admit, he gave sachin a run for his money.

  • on March 27, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    Sachin vs McGrath. I consider McGrath had an edge over Sachin. Sachin performed against McGrath only on batting paradise wickets and on Indian pitches but when we check the records of Sachin in Australia, he struggled to pick McGrath and got oout many a times on Australian wickets. Check the records on South Africa tracks where world cup was played, Sachin got out in finals in the first over of McGrath, Sachin couldn't even face McGrath on English conditions as well when India faced Australia in 1999 world cup super six. Mc Grath got him in the first over. In India as well most of the time, McGrath took his wicket even on batting wicket. Forget Sharjah because there was no McGrath. Only once or twice, Sachin hit McGrath for runs and that too on Indian wickets. Sachin ruled only on home and Asian pitches, McGrath ruled on every wicket.

  • sifter132 on March 27, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    Tendulkar's Test average vs Australia when McGrath is in the opposition? 36.77 (9 Tests - 6 of them in India). Test average vs Australia without McGrath? 61.83 (30 Tests - 13 of them in India). The issue here isn't who is better than who...it's that they didn't face each other enough! The leading run scorer of all time vs the leading wicket taker (for fast bowlers) yet McGrath featured in less than 25% of the Aus-Ind Tests in Sachin's career. You can see from the numbers why Aussie fans might think that is sad.

    Interestingly, the ODI story is similar. ODI average vs Aus when McGrath plays? 36.00 (23 ODIs - only 4 in Aus). Average vs Aus without McGrath? 48.89 (48 ODIs - 21 in Aus). I thought the ODI numbers might be a little different since Tendulkar would sometimes come down the pitch at McGrath - the best way to disrupt his length and get him riled up.

  • on March 27, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    I am sure Author knew some bashing is coming his way as he is talking about GREAT tendulkar, but people forget that he was human too. No doubt about his greatness, but lets not forget others are equally, if not more great too. Mcgrath was clearly one of them. He clearly had tendulkar, and simply because of his cn=unning bowling and great line and length bowling. Amazing bowler he was. No doubt tendulkar teared him apart few times too, but that was a battle everyone loved to watch. McGrath won many, tendulkar won some. That was and is cricket... great battle between bowl and bat.

  • crafty-Rabbi on March 27, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    Great article. McGrath definitely had the wood over ST. I would be interested to learn how Lara fared against McGrath. It is generally agreed that after Bradman, Lara was the second greatest batsman in cricket history. Sachin for me is a distant third followed closely by Ponting. Although Ponting is fortunate that he never had to play against McGrath. The diminutive stature of all four players is telling. It must be true that very short batsmen have marginally faster reactions!

  • SG70 on March 27, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    So as expected no response by the author to the question on why he ignored the 126 @ Chennai.

    Very well then ... here is my article in response to this

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/64706.html

    In that match Tendulkar completely took apart McGrath spanking him for 19 runs in one over including a stunning six over mid-wicket.

    In all these years of watching McGrath Bowl, I have never seen a batsman so clearly own him. Some people have popped out vague theories on his weaknesses before but nothing so specific, and surely never so precisely exploited. McGrath never bowled to Tendulkar in this innings after that onslaught . Brilliant conception and masterly execution by the one and only Super Legend.

    Tendulkar - Super Legend - Take a bow.

  • RohanMarkJay on March 27, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Great write up from Mahesh Sethuraman who I think clearly has talent to be a cricket writer. I agree the McGrath vs Tendulkar rivalry was probably the greatest rivalry in cricket between batsman and bowler during the 1990s a decade (even thought this was 2001) which was studded with good batsman and exceptional bowlers having great rivalries but I agree with the author the McGrath vs Tendulkar rivalry was the best of the lot during the 1990s. Possibly one of the greatest rivalries in the history of cricket. Yeah Mcgrath was a cricketing legend. He and Warne were instrumental in making Australia the unbeatable number one team in cricket in the 1990s.

  • vivkr on March 27, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    Don't see how you think it's a sporting rivalry to match Borg-McEnroe. Come on, McGrath made Tendulkar his bunny. It was totally one-sided. Tendulkar may have survived his spells but he never could dominate McGrath at the height of his powers.

  • Joe-car on March 27, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    It is of little surprise to me that Sachin struggled against Mcgrath. My lack of surprise is not based on the fact that Mcgrath was such a great bowler, but rather on how funny a game of cricket can be at times. I will base my argument on a few observations. 1. I do not think anybody here can argue that Ponting was a great batsman, who, from my admittedly fragile memory, never struggle against off spin, yet he was terrible against Harbhajan. 2. KP, one of the most gifted batsman the sport has ever seen, yet, he can hardly buy a run against slow left arm spin. Graeme Smith and Zaheer Khan. The list goes on. The point I'm trying to make is that, certain batsman struggle against certain bowlers. Maybe Sachin and Mcgrath was just another example of that. There, I said it, you can start sending me hate mail.

  • venkatesh018 on March 27, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Memories come flooding back reading your article, Mahesh. Apart from Wasim Akram, McGrath was the only overseas pace bowler who excelled on the docile, helpless surfaces of India. McGrath, Gillespie, Kasprowicz, Fleming and Warne was once-in-a-generation attack.

  • on March 27, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    My best memories are: sachin, out lbw, b mcgrath, impact: hit on head and sachin scored 35+ runs in icc knockouts, 2000 and mcgrath was dismantled then.

  • on March 27, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    I think its not about the series or even not about who is better. It all about the how great player they are. Of-course it is a good and interesting column. Every series have a quality, where sachin and Mcgrath have been played. People just enjoy their aggression silent sledging. Where only bat and bowl had been talking. Mcgrath a legend, I respect him as a bowler and as a cricketer. I love the contest between Mcgrath and Sachin even everyone wants them to back on the field. Great bowler and great batsman.

  • srikanths on March 27, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with what the author has stated, he has just reported on a particular passage of play. He appears to have been bitten by the 2001 series bug, Just go back to his pieces, he has writted more on the series. He must have followed the matches closely . All of recall some favourite series of ours which may have nothing to do with the quality of the series but more to do with our quality of watching and how enamoured we were of the same. ( I am not saying that 2001 was not exciting, in fact it was one of the most exciting )

  • ShariqueRizvi on March 27, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Well.. very well written by Mahesh. Mcgrath a legend, I respect him as a bowler and as a cricketer. I love the contest between Mcgrath and Sachin. You have pointing only one series there so many series have been played where Sachin faced Mcgrath. You have covered half story (agree with cricket_pass). You can go with stats where sachin had play a vrilliant shot against Mcgrath. Yes @heat-seeker I will never forget that shot which has played by sachin, 2 of the brilliant sixes at that Champions Trophy game. Specially 2nd one he pulled shot a little later (as McGrath dug it in) that sailed out of the ground. I agree with @CricFan too. Mcgrath is Mcgrath, what a bowler. Respect Respect and respect. You right @heat-seeker ... Great bowler and great batsman, the 2 of them. Both had their day in the sun against the other.

  • heat-seeker on March 27, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    By the way, those talking about Australia's bowling attack in 1998 forget that the same attack had no problems against the other teams in the 2 tri-series that they played in India and Sharjah. In India, Zimbabwe had a very competitive team with the likes of the Flower brothers, Campell and Goodwin; whereas NZ in Sharjah were even stronger with the likes of Astle, Fleming, Cairns, MCMillan, Harris and Parore. Yet, those 2 teams were comfortably humbled by the same Aussie bowlers who were repeatedly taken apart by Tendulkar.

  • heat-seeker on March 27, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    By the way, those talking about Australia's bowling attack in 1998 forget that the same attack had no problems against the other teams in the 2 tri-series that they played in India and Sharjah. In India, Zimbabwe had a very competitive team with the likes of the Flower brothers, Campell and Goodwin; whereas NZ in Sharjah were even stronger with the likes of Astle, Fleming, Cairns, MCMillan, Harris and Parore. Yet, those 2 teams were comfortably humbled by the same Aussie bowlers who were repeatedly taken apart by Tendulkar.

  • heat-seeker on March 27, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    @sandy_bangalore: No one has forgotten that McGrath wasn't there in 1998 in India. But you seem to be forgetting Tendulkar's form in 1998 as well as his success against Australia even with McGrath in the 96 WC, the 2001 ODI series and Test series (where Tendulkar averaged 50+), and the Test series in Australia in 1999/2000 where Tendulkar was the lone man fighting for India, and averaging 46 despite 1 clear-cut bad call against Warne at Adelaide, and 2 dicey calls against McGrath at Adelaide and Sydney; that's 3 innings out of 6 innings in total (50%). And the truly remarkable thing about Tendulkar's batting in 1998 was that Australia's batting boasted of the talents of Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist (for the ODIs), Mark Taylor, Michael Slater, Darren Lehman and Michael Bevan (for the ODIs)... and yet individually as well as collectively they came nowhere near the brilliance of Tendulkar's batting!

  • heat-seeker on March 27, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Well remembered @cricket_pass. I too still remember 2 of the brilliant sixes at that Champions Trophy game in Kenya -- 1st one back over McGrath's head, which drew a nod of acknowledgement from Glenn; and then a pull shot a little later (as McGrath dug it in) that sailed out of the ground, and had Geoff Boycott gushing in the commentary box. Tendulkar's batting in the 2001 ODI series (after that great Test series) was also truly breath-taking (and included 2 hundreds), which had McGrath conceding in a newspaper column in the ToI that Tendulkar had got the better of him. Great bowler and great batsman, the 2 of them. Both had their day in the sun against the other.

  • on March 27, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    @Mahesh: As eternity_ on, rightly pointed out, what do you have to say about the next test? i.e.,http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63921.html.

  • CricFan24 on March 27, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Also, as re.Mcgrath- he either got you early or basically not until you had scored your fill. There have been more big innings played against Mcgrath than any other top bowler i can remember - by VVS, Lara, Pietersen, Vaughn, Adams, Dravid...In the Wisden top 100 bowling lists Mcgrath doesnt appear once...but innings AGAINST Mcgrath appear multiple times !

  • CricFan24 on March 27, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    So, again in the 2 full series they played against each other Tendulkar got 6 scores of 50+ and above in 12 innings - along with as mentioned several highly contentious and freak dismissals..I wish Tendulkar had played Mcgrath more during his peak. Mcgrath would have come in for some serious tonking as Tendulkar got him...

  • ishrat1971 on March 27, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    @ Nandu Dude SRT is not god. He is a cricketer, a mighty good one granted but this article is only narrating the writers favourite passage of play....seriously.,.... read it again.

  • CricFan24 on March 27, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    In the 2 full series Tendulkar played against Mcgrath he avg. 46 and 51. These include 2 Hundreds and 4 Fifties. Also other bowlers got Tendulkar often not to mention several contentious decisions - Shoulder before wicket, pad catch off warne, freak dismissals caught off shortlegs shoulder etc. Lara too improved in matches against Mcgrath as he went on...In his first 18 inn. he avg. the same as Tendulkar..then he got the "hang" of Mcgrath as time went on...Basically, play out Mcgrath and you've almost guaranteed yourself a good score.

  • Nandu85 on March 27, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    @Mahesh: You have a good article in showing how Tendulkar had difficulties in facing Mcgrath in those two tests. Your analysis however is skewed.. A bowler only need one ball and a bad day for a batsmen to be considered a success while against a bastman while the batsman need one full innings.

    Now despite popular belief Tendulkar too is a mortal. Hes also not perfect. But he has played extremely well and mastered every great bowler whom he has played against at his peak. An average of 35 or more is way more than decent for any batsman.

    Even though you call Tendulkar "master" and shows that you don't consider him one with your article and your headline, your article should have been a bit more unbiased. Reason being: Tendulkar's discipline, hard work, perseverance, ambition etc. He was a hero to everyone who is playing with him in Indian team today. Not a single other team sport has a team who can say the same. Give him some respect next time you write an article. Thank You.

  • SG70 on March 27, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Here is what happened next :

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63921.html

    Its not like you don't know about it. Nor will you have the courtesy to respond as to why you ignored it. Lets not even talk about the ODI series that followed. This is why I always believe that India does not deserve a Mega Legend like Tendulkar. He would have most definitely replaced Bradman had he been born in Australia. Just no concept of fairness no concept of protecting your own interests and an upside down sense of right and wrong.

  • sawifan on March 27, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    Why can't all the Sachin fanboys admit, that maybe, just maybe he was fairly beaten at times. This isn't to diminish his standing in the game, nor to mock Indian cricket either, it's just to state facts and occasions where someone was too good for him. With a career average of close to 55 and an average against McGrath of 22, i'd have to say that 'yes' McGarth had the edge on SRT, it wasn't a 50-50 duel. @perl, why must you try and make every decision against him a 'bad' decision. I can clearly remember a few shockers against SRT, but i can likewise remember some terrible decisions against Lara, Poting, Kallis, Sangakkara etc... yet fans of these players don't make excuses, they understand that sometimes you get bad decisions, sometimes you get some luck. And your comment re: Cricket not surviving without SRT is just proof of delusions. Yes, cricket in IND and subsequently the world wouldn't be as lucrative, but it would surely still be alive and well. SRT a champ, but tamed by Pidg!

  • venkateswarlu84 on March 27, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    Sachin was never comfortable against McGrath. Even when he tried to attach it was Mcgrath who was having upper hand. We can convince ourselves easily that he s master of cricket and so .. . . I saw all the encounters between them it was easily McGrath who was having upper hand. Tr s no doubt in this.

  • Cool_Jeeves on March 27, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    The very basis of the article is incorrect - by this time the author would have realized that an article trying to explain how the "master" was outplayed is pointless. Who is going to read it anyway? McGrath v/s Tendulkar was 50-50 in 1999-2000 because he lacked the usual support of Gillespie in that series. Tendulkar was lifted by the responsibility of captaincy. In all other series where McGrath was present, McGrath distinctly had the upper hand. Let us not forget the super-six knockout in 1999 WC where also he got Tendulkar bowled first ball.

  • on March 26, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    just shows how some people use the masters name to write some thing so they get lot of attention. who would care to read this article if it was not Sachin or McGrath

  • smudgeon on March 26, 2013, 21:01 GMT

    In case people weren't paying attention: this article is about a four-ball spell where McGrath mastered Sachin. Not an entire career. Accept that Sachin is awesome, McGrath is awesome, and that cricket is awesomer.

  • highway_star on March 26, 2013, 20:21 GMT

    Reminding myself to never again read your stuff. After a relieving 4-0 over the Aussies, THIS is your favourite passage of play between the 2 teams? No sense of time and place. And this after you went nuts about why Steve Waugh wasn't a crisis man, last week, while ignoring justifiable evidence to the contrary present right in your piece. Also, your profile text looks desperate, ungainly and purely wannabe. Your writing is a blight on this fine site.

  • on March 26, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    McGrath is the bowler to be remembered. I had seen him bowling almost all the greats out so easily that no other bowler can do...

  • perl57 on March 26, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    Mahesh, hopelessly wrong in your article. McGrath might have got him in Mumbai and then at Eden for once but please do remember McGrath was taken to cleaners in Mumbai and then in Chennai. When McGrath taunted Sachin to pull all the time, he showed him his ferocious pulls in ODIs. Besides McGrath has had numerous decisions in his favor against Sachin as most of the decisions were given by Oz umpires and Bucknor. Who could forget Harper's Leg Before 10 feet outside leg wicket given LBW. Ball over shoulder high given LBW. Say McGrath was great and his duels with Sachin was good but do not insult the man without whom cricket COULD not survive in the last two decades.

  • Kaze on March 26, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    It's worth noting that Sachin averaged 22 vs McGrath http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/35320.html?class=1;opposition=2;template=results;type=batting;view=bowler_summary

  • stheodore on March 26, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    totally agree @cricket_pass. Also, this article only describes a great spell that McGrath bowled to a great batsman. Its not a comparison of whos great. McGrath was a very fine bowler and he has mastered sachin, lara and others at times. They have also mastered him many times.

  • on March 26, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    I would call McGrath versus Sachin a draw. Don't know why we should put down a great batsman, just because he is Indian. Great piece by Mahesh but story should logically include the next test and the inevitable 100.

  • GlobalCricketLover on March 26, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    Nice article. If you want to know the best who have outfoxed Sachin you dont need to look beyond Fanie DeVilliers. He made Sachin look so mortal by changing his pace 'just enough' to make Sachin chip to midwicket or silly midwicket. And to do that to someone like Sachin in his peak days is really something! Most times Sachin knew what Fanie was up to but could not survive. He was the only bowler who could keep Sachin quiet even during the latter's peak days.

  • GlobalCricketLover on March 26, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    Nice article. If you want to know the best who have outfoxed Sachin you dont need to look beyond Fanie DeVilliers. He made Sachin look so mortal by changing his pace 'just enough' to make Sachin chip to midwicket or silly midwicket. And to do that to someone like Sachin in his peak days is really something! Most times Sachin knew what Fanie was up to but could not survive. He was the only bowler who could keep Sachin quiet even during the latter's peak days.

  • on March 26, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    I would call McGrath versus Sachin a draw. Don't know why we should put down a great batsman, just because he is Indian. Great piece by Mahesh but story should logically include the next test and the inevitable 100.

  • stheodore on March 26, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    totally agree @cricket_pass. Also, this article only describes a great spell that McGrath bowled to a great batsman. Its not a comparison of whos great. McGrath was a very fine bowler and he has mastered sachin, lara and others at times. They have also mastered him many times.

  • Kaze on March 26, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    It's worth noting that Sachin averaged 22 vs McGrath http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/35320.html?class=1;opposition=2;template=results;type=batting;view=bowler_summary

  • perl57 on March 26, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    Mahesh, hopelessly wrong in your article. McGrath might have got him in Mumbai and then at Eden for once but please do remember McGrath was taken to cleaners in Mumbai and then in Chennai. When McGrath taunted Sachin to pull all the time, he showed him his ferocious pulls in ODIs. Besides McGrath has had numerous decisions in his favor against Sachin as most of the decisions were given by Oz umpires and Bucknor. Who could forget Harper's Leg Before 10 feet outside leg wicket given LBW. Ball over shoulder high given LBW. Say McGrath was great and his duels with Sachin was good but do not insult the man without whom cricket COULD not survive in the last two decades.

  • on March 26, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    McGrath is the bowler to be remembered. I had seen him bowling almost all the greats out so easily that no other bowler can do...

  • highway_star on March 26, 2013, 20:21 GMT

    Reminding myself to never again read your stuff. After a relieving 4-0 over the Aussies, THIS is your favourite passage of play between the 2 teams? No sense of time and place. And this after you went nuts about why Steve Waugh wasn't a crisis man, last week, while ignoring justifiable evidence to the contrary present right in your piece. Also, your profile text looks desperate, ungainly and purely wannabe. Your writing is a blight on this fine site.

  • smudgeon on March 26, 2013, 21:01 GMT

    In case people weren't paying attention: this article is about a four-ball spell where McGrath mastered Sachin. Not an entire career. Accept that Sachin is awesome, McGrath is awesome, and that cricket is awesomer.

  • on March 26, 2013, 22:40 GMT

    just shows how some people use the masters name to write some thing so they get lot of attention. who would care to read this article if it was not Sachin or McGrath

  • Cool_Jeeves on March 27, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    The very basis of the article is incorrect - by this time the author would have realized that an article trying to explain how the "master" was outplayed is pointless. Who is going to read it anyway? McGrath v/s Tendulkar was 50-50 in 1999-2000 because he lacked the usual support of Gillespie in that series. Tendulkar was lifted by the responsibility of captaincy. In all other series where McGrath was present, McGrath distinctly had the upper hand. Let us not forget the super-six knockout in 1999 WC where also he got Tendulkar bowled first ball.