Who Was Better? Sachin or Lara - An Analytical Explanation

image-ls0h2p3kSachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara are two greats for the cricketing fraternity (Source: x.com)

If the earliest forms are considered, the age of cricket, the game is about 400 years. However, cricket as we know it today saw its inception in 1877. Since its birth, the game has been graced by some exceptional talents. Over the years, the fans have involved themselves in discussions and debates about who was the best to grace the game. With an otherworldly Test average of 99.9, fans generally have accepted that Sir Donald Bradman was the best batter to have ever played the game. 

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However, cricket as a game has evolved and progressed by leaps and bounds since Sir Don's time. It has also seen some great talents like Sunil Gavaskar, Sir Vivian Richards, Allan Border, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Charles Lara, Virat Kohli and many others. There have been many debates and comparisons about these players. One of the most burning questions that has been and will always be as long as the game lasts is: Who was better? Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara. This article tries to take an analytical approach and examine who was better. 

To address our problem statement, we will consider a few metrics. 

  1. Performance of the two players in Home and Away conditions. 
  2. Performance under pressure.
  3. Performance against the top three bowlers during their playing period. 

1.Performance in Home and Away Conditions

Sachin vs Lara - In ODIS (Home Conditions)

image-ls1aw2goSachin vs Lara in Home ODIs (Source: OneCricket)

Conclusion: Taking into consideration all the metrics here. Sachin Tendulkar is way ahead in this case.

Sachin vs Lara - In ODIs (Away Conditions)

image-ls1b664vSachin vs Lara in ODIs away from Home (Source: OneCricket)

Conclusion: The competition between the two is a bit closer here, but Sachin still emerges as the winner by a considerable margin. 

Now we move onto Test cricket comparison between the two players. In case of Test cricket the strike rate, especially in the period these two played did not hold much importance. So, we will consider the ducks as a metric here. We will have a look at who played more innings in between ducks as that will give us an idea about the consistency of the batter. The more the innings to score a duck, the better.

In Tests (Home Conditions)

image-ls1b4o4tSachin vs Lara in Home Tests (Source: OneCricket)

Conclusion: In case of Home Tests, Brian Lara has a great advantage if runs per innings is considered. However, Sachin takes the deal away in the number of innings taken to score a duck. But in case of innings taken to score 100+ scores, Lara goes ahead by the slightest of margins. Thus, though very narrowly, Brian Lara emerges ahead of Sachin in this case.

In Tests (Away Conditions)

image-ls1b857nSachin vs Lara in Away Tests (Source: OneCricket)

Conclusion: While, in case of home Tests, the competition was fierce between Sachin and Lara, in the case of away Tests, Sachin Tendulkar seems to dominate in all aspects.

Thus, if we look at the number of the two players in home and away conditions, Sachin emerges the better player. Hence if we consider this a competition of three metrics, Sachin Tendulkar is 1-0 up.

2. Performance Under Pressure

In this section, we will get into a comparison of Sachin and Lara under Pressure. The thing to note here is that Pressure is not a measurable metric. But to accommodate it in our analysis, we will try to quantify it.

In the case of ODIs, we will look at the performance of the two players in chases and knock-out games of the multi-nation tournaments. In the case of Tests, we will delve into their performance in the fourth innings of a match, when the Pressure on the batters is the greatest.

Sachin vs Lara - In ODIs (Knockout Matches)

image-ls1bog1vSachin vs Lara in Knockout matches of Tournaments (Source: OneCricket)

Conclusion: If the numbers in the knockout matches of ODIs are concerned, Sachin Tendulkar is way ahead of Brian Lara.

Sachin vs Lara in ODIs (While Chasing)

image-ls1bpsztSachin vs Lara While Chasing in ODIs (Source: OneCricket)

Conclusion: In this case also, we see Sachin Tendulkar has an upper hand over the West Indian legend.

Sachin vs Lara - In Tests (4th Innings)

image-ls1bqy8mSachin vs Lara in the 4th Innings of Test Matches (Source: OneCricket)

Conclusion: In this case, we see that Lara has scored more runs per innings than Tendulkar. However, the Indian legend eclipses Lara in the other two metrics and wins it. 

Thus in case of performing under pressure, the 'God of Cricket' was better than the 'Prince of Cricket'. So after the first two categories Sachin takes the lead by 2-0. 

3. Performance Against the Top Three Bolwers during their Period

Top Three Test Bowlers During Sachin's Playing Period

image-ls0h612dMuttiah Muralidaran has the highest number of international wickets (Source: x.com)

Sachin Tendulkar made his Test Debut in 1989 and played his last game in the whites in 2013. The top three Test Bowlers in this period against whom Sachin batted are - 

image-ls1c26hdThe Top Three Bowler's Druing Sachin's Playing Period (Source: OneCricket)

Sachin Tendulkar's Record vs the Top Three

In order to quantify the batter's performance against the bowlers we have taken into consideration the Matches/Dismissal and the Average of the batter against them.  We have used a mathematical process to combine these two metrics and derive a certain Batting Efficiency Score. 

So, Sachin Tendulkar's total Batting Efficiency Score against the Top Three Test Bowlers of his time is - 18.38

Top Three Bolwers During Lara's Playing Period

image-ls0h9vinShane Warne has the second most Test wicket (Source: x.com)

Brian Lara played his first Test in 1990, while his last game in whites was in 2006.

image-ls1c4o4cTop Three Test Bowlers During Lara's Playing Period (Source: OneCricket)

Brian Lara's Record vs the Top Three

Brian Lara's Batting Efficiency Score against the Top Three Test Bowlers of his time is - 21.32.


In Test Cricket, Brian Lara is ahead when it comes to playing the top three bowlers during his period. 

image-ls0hbnrgGlenn MCGrath is considered to be one of the best ODI bowlers in the history (Source: x.com)

Top Three ODI Bowlers During Sachin's Period

While Sachin made his ODI debut in 1989, his last game in the Blue Jersey was in 2012.

image-ls1bt8lgThe Top Three Bowlers in ODIs during Sachin's Playing Period (Source:x.com)

Sachin Tendulkar's Record vs The Top Three

The ODI Batting Efficiency Score of Sachin Tendulkar against the Top Three bowlers in ODIs is - 31.063

Top Three ODI Bowlers During Lara's Period

Lara's ODI Career lasted from 1990-2007.

image-ls1bw9osTop Three Bowlers in ODI during Lara's Playing Period (Source: OneCricket)

Brian Lara's Record vs The Top Three

Brian Lara's ODI Batting Efficiency Score against the Top Three Bowlers of his time is - 27.85


In ODI cricket, Sachin Tendulkar eclipses Brian Lara against the Top Three Bowlers of his period. 

So, in this case, the face-off is balanced and we give both of them 1-1 in this case.

Final Result

After comparing on the basis of the three deciding factors, the score stands 3-1 in favour of Sachin Tendulkar. So, as per the methods used in this study we can say that Sachin was a more complete and better batter than Brian Lara. 

However, it must be kept in mind that both of them are great servants of the game. The quantification of performances is a difficult task, and this is just an attempt to try and analyse two great careers. So, any kind of inference drawn in this article is subjective and not at all absolute.