India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 1998 November 15, 2009

Tendulkar outwits Warne

One team's champion faces his opposite number with the game hanging by a thread

It's rare enough that in the middle of the fourth day a Test match is evenly poised. To then have one team's champion facing his opposite number with the game hanging by a thread is heaven for a cricket fan.

That's the way it happened in Chennai in 1998.

Sachin Tendulkar was facing Shane Warne with India and Australia both battling for supremacy. The defining moment came just after lunch, when Warne went round the wicket with Tendulkar having just passed his fifty.

In the lead up to the Test, Tendulkar had approached former Indian allrounder Ravi Shastri and asked for advice on what to do when Warne adopted this ploy. Shastri told Tendulkar: "You must find an attacking method to combat Warne when he comes round the wicket."

Tendulkar then spent four days in the nets with a spot outside leg stump scuffed and former Indian leggie L Sivaramakrishnan bowling round the wicket into the footmarks.

When Warne made his move round the wicket, Tendulkar took to his offerings like a kid offered a lolly-shop gift voucher. A brace of sixes and fours from lofted sweep/pull shots to the midwicket region convinced Warne to abort this tactic. Tendulkar's preparatory work had proved to be a masterstroke.

Tendulkar won the battle and India went on to win the war by 179, just a few runs in excess of the maestro's second innings contribution of 155 not out.

This was a battle of the champions to savour.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist