It's not always that players admire their opponents on the field but Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds has disclosed how he was unusually enamoured by the rare sight of VVS Laxman overshadowing an in-form Sachin Tendulkar during the Sydney Test.
Apart from the many unpleasant stories related to the spiteful Sydney match, Symonds also had a pleasant observation about Indians which he narrated in his newly published autobiography Roy on the rise - A year of living dangerously.
"So much for the diamond days, but even the stony days had a bit to recommend them during the Sydney Test," he said.
"It's rare to see Sachin Tendulkar in from yet being overshadowed by another batsman, but VVS in my book did exactly that during his first innings knock of 109," Symonds said.
He was, however, quick to add that the two batsmen were at par but it was just a matter of one's perspective.
"In saying that, it was like holding a Rolex watch and a Patek Phillipe watch and saying which one looks best? Depending upon your taste, you'll opt for one while acknowledging the other is pretty sharp as well," he said.
Symonds said he felt privileged to watch Laxman, who has been a nemesis for Australian bowlers, and Tendulkar, when duo's shots were just "flowing".
"VVS is all wrist and timing, and Sachin is all balance and quickness. For the connoisseur, you find something to like with virtually every shot they play when they are flowing.
"...The centuries they scored and the way they did it, was something that your felt privileged to watch, although when it was happening I was trying to keep it stony-faced and not let either batsman know how their class was going over.
"Bowling to VVS is a nightmare. His batting is dreamlike, but unfortunately you can usually admire his work in the context that it is making you look like you're novice. Very very special indeed," he said.
Symonds, also called as Roy by his teammates, however, quipped he was not breaching any one's confidence in revealing his emotions about the two opposition batsmen.
"Cricket fans often ask me whether the players watch their opposition like spectators do? In other words do we admire and applaud good batting or bowling?
"Well, the short answer is no. More often than not, we're thinking about how to restrict a batsman or what weakness we can attack on. When batting, you work with your partner and, and if the bowlers are on top, you look at the ways to ride things out and change the momentum in your favour.
"However, I'm not breaking any confidence to reveal that this approach was right royally tested during the second Test when first VVS Laxman and then Sachin Tendulkar put on a batting masterclass."