Really interesting.. what exactly is the sample size we are talking about? How many dead rubber innings for Sachin and how many for Lara? Conveniently masked, I seeFrom what I remember, Lara was generally worse than Tendulkar against most of the great attacks/bowlers in live games but did a helluva lot better in dead rubbers. I am not much of a stats man (true story!) but I'm glad that the stats seem to confirm this.
Here are their stats against the ATG bowling pairs of the 90s...
In live matches against McWarne,
Tendulkar averaged 45.25 with 2 tons,
Lara averaged 42.16 with 2 tons,
In live matches against Donald & Pollock
Tendulkar averaged 42.87 with 1 ton,
Lara averaged 32.16 without a hundred,
In live matches against Wasim & Waqar,
Tendulkar averaged 39.71 with 1 ton,
Lara averaged 31.14 without a hundred.
Tendulkar seems well ahead to me (at least against Pollock/Donald and the W's). He is also surprisingly ahead against McWarne even though he got little to no oppurtunities against them during his best years compared to Lara. I get similar results when I check their stats against (what I consider) formidable Australian, SA and Pakistani attacks....
Tendulkar averages 45.25 in 6 live Tests (1999, 2001, 2004) against quality Australian attacks.
Lara averages 41.68 in 19 live Tests ( 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005) against quality Australian attacks.
Tendulkar averages 32.91 in 7 live Tests (1989,1999) against quality Pakistani attacks.
Lara averages 28.67 from in 5 live Tests (1990,1993,1997) against quality Pakistani attacks.
Tendulkar averages 34.11 in 10 live Tests (1992,1996,1997,2000) against quality SA attacks.
Lara averages 33.35 in 7 live Tests (1992,1998,2001) against quality SA attacks.
And yet Lara seems to do FAR better than Tendulkar against the same attacks in dead rubbers! I get similar results even when I see their OVERALL records against Test-standard sides. Tendulkar averages 53+ and Lara 52+ overall. But Lara's average drops down to 48+ whereas Tendulkar's pretty much the same in live Tests.
My intention here is not to portray Lara as a dead rubber bully (even though the stats do sort of suggest that! ) nor am I saying Tendulkar's superior stats in live Tests (against the ATG attacks and otherwise) definitively make him the better player. What I do want to point out is that it's Lara's performances in ...slightly less meaningful games that gives him the edge over/reduces the gap between him and Sachin against the best attacks/overall. That's it.