Writers on the best day, session or passage of play they've seen live

India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 1998

Tendulkar outwits Warne

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

Ian Chappell

November 15, 2009

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Sachin Tendulkar flicks Greg Blewett, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 4th day, March 9, 1998
Two masters, one winner © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Sachin Tendulkar | Shane Warne
Series/Tournaments: Border-Gavaskar Trophy
Teams: India

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

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Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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