‘I bowled at around 165 kmph and he just smacked me for four’: Brett Lee recalls epic battle with Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar’s battles with Australian bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne over the years are the stuff of legends, but somehow, his rivalry with Brett Lee doesn’t get the mention it deserves. Like McGrath and Warne, Lee and Tendulkar have faced each other numerous times and made for some very fascinating battles. In fact, Lee has dismissed Tendulkar the most times in international cricket, resulting in 14 dismissal of the former India batsman.
However, for Lee, the one memory that stands out is an ODI from the 2008 CB series in Australia when Tendulkar beat Lee, hitting him for three exquisite boundaries in an over and off balls fired in at over 150 clicks. With Australia defending 159, Tendulkar blasted an off drive, a straight drive and a flick, all three shots fetching him and India fours as Lee, who was steaming, was left with no answers.
“There were a couple of occasions where I got Sachin out. But there’s also a game in Sydney, where I bowled at around 165 kmph and he just hit me smacked me for four. It was an off drive for four. I was like ‘Wow! This guy is an absolute legend’,” Lee told Mid-Day in an interview.
Lee and Tendulkar’s first battle dates back to the year 2000, when a 24-year-old Lee made his debut for Australia in a Test match at the MCG. Tendulkar and Lee would go on to face each other 42 more times over the next 12 years with both winning as many battles as losing against each other. Having said that, the one element that formed the crux of their rivalry was mutual respect.
“We’ve also had a lot of fun off the field as friends. When I was touring India and I was asked by Sachin Tendulkar to join him for dinner, we went go karting after that,” Lee added. “Those little thigs might not have meant as much to him as they did to me. I was a guy coming through, getting to know him better, I’m so lucky that we both got to form an amazing friendship. We respected each other too which was important.”