In a brilliant international career that spanned almost a quarter of a century, no bowler dismissed Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar more than Aussie quick Brett Lee. From the Australian's Test debut in 1999, the pair faced off 42 times at the highest level and won as many battles as they lost against each other. Their rivalry was always based on mutual respect and admiration that continues to this day, with the pair meeting again regularly off the field since their respective retirements.
Matches played: 42 (12 Tests, 30 ODIs) Times Lee dismissed Tendulkar: 14 Runs scored by Tendulkar: 2329 (six centuries, 11 fifties)
When Tendulkar beat Lee
Despite Tendulkar scoring more than 2000 runs against Australian sides featuring Lee, one single over stands out when recalling battles between the two. It was in a one-day game at the MCG in 2008 when, with Lee steaming in as the Aussies tried to defend a meagre total of 159, the Indian star clattered three exquisite boundaries in the space of four deliveries that were all clocked at faster than 150km/h. The right-hander started with a powerful square drive through point before he dismissively clobbered another full delivery to the rope at mid-off, with the ball past the bowler before he'd had a chance to react. Tendulkar completed the onslaught with a textbook straight drive that raced to the boundary, leaving the vocal Indian fans in raptures as their roars echoed around the famous venue.
When Lee beat Tendulkar
In the controversial 2007-08 Test series more remembered for scandal than skill, the enthralling on-field battle between Lee and Tendulkar did its best to draw focus back onto the cricket. Statistically Lee had the edge over his rival, removing him four times across the four Tests in conditions that favoured bat more than ball, but the Indian great did muster two brilliant centuries. But, as always, the numbers don't tell the full story; Lee beat Tendulkar's bat at least three times early in his innings in Sydney before the Indian pushed on to three figures, while one of the Australian's two dismissals in Perth was a questionable LBW decision. But it was the quick's spell in Adelaide, where he troubled all batsmen and unluckily finished with just five wickets for the match, that drew praise from the great Tendulkar. "It was the toughest spell," the Indian said of his opponent, who would be named player-of-the-series. " Lee has been the top bowler throughout the series ... he has not given us any breathing space at all."
What they said
"In my view he deserves to be acknowledged as the best batsman of all time, just as South Africa’s Jacques Kallis is entitled to be ranked the game’s greatest all-rounder. Make no mistake, on his day Brian (Lara) could be as equally challenging for bowlers, but Sachin was so technically correct – the way he always played through the 'V' was incredible – and like a panther, he’d pounce on a poor delivery and devour it." - Lee on Tendulkar