Well unlike the Warne vs Murali, Dravid vs Ponting, Hayden being a flat-track bully, Lee not being a good enough test bowler, in my time on this site this argument hasn't been around that much nor has caused much headaches on this site.
So unlike the infamous Warne vs Murali argument especially, i think between now & whenever these two legendary batsmen retire i think we can discuss a civilized manner which one of these two is better.
Ok so i'll start, before i had my little debate on this topic last year I definately thought Lara was better, but as C_C showed i think they are some fair reasons to say that Tendulkar up to 2001 (the established date here as the time when most of the top bowlers from around the world have declined & pitches around the world became extremely flat) the little master had a fair amount of aspects ahead of the Prince of port of spain up to 2001:
Lara up to 2001
Tendulkar up to 2001
1. Tendulkar is more consistent than Lara
2. Tendulkar averages better than Lara againts good/great attacks
3. Tendulkar is far more versatile than Lara overall and this is indicated by the fact that while their home averages are about the same (with Lara having a slight adavantage), Tendulkar has a better away average.
4. Tendulkar averages better in Australia when McGrath & Warne played together, stats show he averages 23 points more in England but i maintain that Tendulkar has faced poor english attacks in all his 3 tours here while Lara in lara's 3 tours he only encountered a poor attack in 95 & faced very good attacks in 2000 & 2004. But when India come here in 2007 we'll see how he goes, even if he isn't the same Tendulkar of post 2002..
Tendulkar averages 24 more in PAK, on his 1st tour to Pakistan at just 16 facing Imran/Wasim/Waqar/Qadir, Tendulkar averaged 36.Lara in 2 tours to Pakistan in 90/91 & 97 averaged 24.50 & 21.50. This is signigicant that a young tendulkar could average 36 vs these great bowlers & in 97 Lara barely averaged 21 vs Wasim/Waqar
While their is not much to pick and chose between their respective records in SRI, Lara has dominated Vaas & Murali at their peaks while Tendulkar never did that. But iverall its enough to say that Tendulkar has done much better than Lara overseas.
5. Tendulkar has averaged 40+ away from home againts good/great attacks more times than Lara. Lara up until 2001 only did so once vs SRI in 2001 while recently in Australia he averaged 57. Lara also never averaged 40+ in South Africa when Donald-Pollock were playing nor when Wasim-Waqar etc were playing.
But it can be argued here that Tendulkar's record in SA vs a good/great attack, he had more of a chance to prove himself over their vs Donald-Pollock at the peak of their powers than Lara did, but you can only take of what oppurtunities you get but the fact that Tendulkar played againts a good/great SA attack 3 times in the 90s compared to Lara's one is significant
6. Lara failed to score a century vs Donald-Pollock or Wasim-Waqar etc. Tendulkar did so againts both.
7. Tendulkar has faced a superior bowling opposition throughout his career than Lara has. The only good/world-class/great bowlers (which ever you prefer) that Lara faced but Tendulkar didn't was Kumble and Srinath in 1994. The world-class/great bowlers that Tendulkar faced but Lara didn't are Ambrose, Walsh, Imran Khan, Bishop, Qadir & Hadlee.
8. Tendulkar's technique is superior to Lara's which is shown by the fact that Lara had a big technical flaw throughout the 90s when he was vulnerable outside off-stump and was caught in the slips & the gully & point region a lot. A weakness exposed superbly by the great Glenn McGrath. Tendulkar at his best during the 90s has only been occasionally vulnerable to the incutter, a weakness exposed at times by Donald, McGrath & Wasim Akram.
But for me with Lara never needed great technique, Lara is all about great hand-eye co-ordination, utter brilliance, powerful, stamina, a huge appetite for runs & an the temperament for the big occasion.
The three (3) main area's where i could say Lara is better than Tendulakr are:
1. When in full flow Lara is definately more destructive than Tendulkar & better to watch IMO.
2. Lara can hurt an attack more than Tendulkar, which is shown by the amount of scores he has over 150.
3. Under pressure Lara has the ability to make runs in those situation and win games for his side, which is showed by the famous 153* not out in 1999.
So to summarize even though since 2001 Lara has really been dominant againts less superb-attacks of the 90s & much flatter pitches, Tendulkar has faced the same bowlers but hasn't cashed in for various reasons (injuries probably being a major reason), one can say that you can't really say much about them during this period. But sadly for Lara the fact is that while the best bowlers were around & pitches were not so flat during the 90s Tendulkar was better.
Its all againts Lara but i'll still rather to see him bat than Tendulkar any day
But overall i hope this argument doesn't become like Warne vs Murali but somehow i dont think so..
Would be cool if the mods could stick this.