Best batsman of modern era? Sachin tendulkar, Ricky ponting, Brian Lara
All of these guys put Lara ahead of Tendulkar, I doubt their minds have changed since then despite the 200 and all.
Personally I feel Tendulkar's been the best bat of the modern era, just barely slightly ahead of Lara and I say this purely due his consistency levels compared with Lara.
Without a shadow of a doubt however, I feel there isnt a batsmen in the world who could match Lara's genius and greatness when he actually got set and was in form. Absolutely ridiculous acceleration and domination of bowlers with such flare to boot.
The great thing about Lara is that he kept attacking throughout his career while Tendulkar changed his approach a few years back.