Two of the most entertaining and charismatic cricketers of their generation enjoyed a string of famous battles as the game's powerbase shifted from Lara's Windies to Warne's Australia in the mid-1990s. Many of the pair's most memorable individual performances came in matches against each other; Warne's 7-52 at the MCG and his 1996 World Cup semi-final heroics came in matches won against Lara, while the West Indian's three Test double hundreds against Australia all came when Warne was in opposition. Both have nominated the other as among the top handful of players they played against, a sign of the mutual respect enjoyed between the two.
Matches played: 42 (20 Tests, 22 ODIs) Times Warne dismissed Lara: 10 Runs scored by Lara: 2729 (eight hundreds, 12 fifties)
When Lara beat Warne
One of the brightest moments of Lara's brilliant career came a time when Warne was tumbling towards a dark hole that would see him sensationally dropped from the Test side and pondering his future in the game. The 1999 Test series in the Caribbean was locked at 1-all heading into the third match in Barbados and it looked like Australia would seal the series after Steve Waugh's 199 earned them a 161-run lead on the first innings. But an Australian batting stumble in their second innings gave the Windies a sniff and brought the battle between Lara and Warne into focus. Lara was riding the crest of a wave following his superb 213 in the second Test; Warne, on the other hand, was simply crestfallen having taken just a single wicket in the first two Tests and gone at almost four-and-a-half runs an over in the first innings of the third. And the Trinidadian master showed little sympathy in the run chase as the Windies, despite slumping to 5-105 in pursuit of 308 to win, set their sights on victory. Pace duo Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie bravely sent down 60 overs between them and took eight wickets, but the lack of support from Warne was telling. The leggie went wicketless again as Lara's unbeaten 153 secured a famous one-wicket win and led to Warne's controversial axing for the final Test.
When Warne beat Lara
The 1995 Kingston Test is best remembered for a Waugh twins double act that secured Australia a 2-1 series win and ended the home side's decades of dominance at home. But the heroics of the Waughs with the bat makes it easy to forget the feeling of inevitability that came over Sabina Park by lunch on the opening day. After Curtly Ambrose had carried his side to a crushing victory in the third Test in Trinidad, the mighty Windies were rightly hot favourites to overcome their early series stumble and hold on to the Frank Worrell Trophy yet again. And when Lara and Richie Richardson steered the hosts to 1-103 after electing to bat first, their odds shortened even further. But Warne, who had been expensive but enjoyed moderate success in the opening three Tests, would strike the telling blow that turned the course of the match and the series. He induced a tentative prod from Lara that produced an inside edge and a popped catch to wicketkeeper Ian Healy, starting a collapse of 9-162 that put the Australians in control. And after the Waugh brothers made history, Warne picked up four more wickets in the second innings as Australia won by an innings.
What they said
"Brian, to me, I think if you had to send someone out when you needed 400 to win on the last day and you needed someone to make 200, you'd want Brian to be that guy. He was flamboyant, he was wonderful to watch, he had a real flair about him with that huge back-lift. And he always seemed to hit the gaps – his placement of the ball was something that I thought was pretty special." – Shane Warne on Brian Lara