5 Sachin Tendulkar-Shoaib Akhtar battles we will never forget
Sachin Tendulkar & Shoaib AkhtarIndia-Pakistan matches have the ability to captivate over a billion people, and for many years, the mini-battle between Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar was the most exhilarating of the rivalry. It was a duel that pitted India’s best batsman and favourite cricketing son, against Pakistan’s treasured fast bowling phenomenon. When the Little Master took to the crease to face off against the Rawalpindi Express, two countries went to fight with their prized possessions, and fireworks were guaranteed.What made it so dramatic was that neither held a decisive edge. Tendulkar did not always flay Akhtar’s 100mph bullets, but nor could the Pakistani pacer keep the Master Blaster’s blade restrained on every occasion. It was a fight fitting of arguably the two most advanced professors in their respective arts at the time.Here are five Tendulkar-Akhtar battles we will never forget.
#1 1999 Asian Test Championship
What better place to start than the very first time the two ever went up against each other. It was during the 1999 Asian Test Championship where they met, in the first match of the tournament at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. However, this wasn’t a battle that lasted long, and Pakistan’s man immediately got the better of the player who was to become one of his main adversaries.
Pakistan struggled in their first innings – Javagal Srinath’s 5-46 skittled them for a paltry 185. India had a prime opportunity to wrench full control of the match, but Akhtar had other ideas. He set about ripping the heart out of the Indian top-order and clean bowled two of India’s Fab Four – VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid – to expose Tendulkar.
Continuing his rampage, Akhtar sent Tendulkar’s middle stump flying on his very first ball, and he could not hide his elation, kneeling on the pitch and spreading his arms wide. He had taken out two henchmen, and now the top dog. India did manage to secure a 38-run first innings lead, but Saeed Anwar’s 188 not out helped to set up a tough chase of 279. Akhtar was once again unleashed. He didn’t get Tendulkar this time, but his 4-47 helped Pakistan to victory by 46 runs.