Twins Steve and Mark Waugh, pillars of Australian batting in the 1990s, turn 50 on Tuesday. The elder brother Steve ‘Tugga’ Waugh, the embodiment of Australian tenacity and aggression, was a servant of Australia’s cricket for the best part of two decades.

He oversaw his team from a position of precariousness to their stand as the commanding leader of world cricket, and the conception of one of the glorious periods in the country’s cricket. Initially an allrounder, Steve turned greater attention to his batting, to become a consistent batsman, backed by some valuable knocks and an impressive record. He has scored 10,927 runs at 51.06, having played 168 Tests, the most by an Australian, with Ricky Ponting. READ: Curtly Ambrose reveals details on on-field spat with Steve Waugh during 1995 series

He started his career against India in 1985, in a series in which his team was outperformed by the opposition. Under coach Bob Simpson and captain Allan Border, Australia started to sow seeds for the future, in an endeavour to eliminate their mediocrity at the time, and Steve was a leading part of the nucleus of players with whom the future would be negotiated.

Although he lost his place for a brief period, he worked on his game, adding more discipline to his batting. His runs against West Indies in the iconic series of 1995, which enabled them to facilitate the first series loss for their opponents in 15 years, established him as one of the most reliable middle-order batsmen for Australia. READ: World Cup 1987: The Steve Waugh turnaround

He took the captaincy from Mark Taylor, and under him, Australia saw a phase of invincibility. He led his side to a turnaround World Cup triumph in 1999, but then took them to 16 Test wins in a row – a record. His captaincy was critiqued as defined by an all-out approach, something that gave them a bullying appearance on the field.

His one-day record is more modest, with 7569 runs at 32.90, but in 2001-02 Steve encountered a blip in his career, and with the failure of his side to reach the final of the tri-series in at home, he was effectively removed from the one-day arena. He bowed out of Test cricket a year later.

Steve has a charity, Udayan, in Barrackpore, which homes children affected by leprosy or whose parents suffer from that disease. In his post-cricket career, he is devoting a significant time to charity work, something he confessed to Harsha Bhogle in an interview in 2010.

Mark Waugh, the twin brother of Steve and one who is known less for his statistics than the aesthetic pleasure in his batting, also turns 50 on Tuesday. Mark, in his career spanning 11 years, is a middle-order batsman in Tests and an opener in ODIs, but he is also known for his slips-catching. He took 181 catches, the fifth highest in the world, in 128 Tests, only 29 catches behind Rahul Dravid, who has played 164 Tests. READ: Mark Waugh set to begin his new innings as national selector

Mark first found a spot in the Australian Test squad in 1990-91 against England, replacing his brother. Although he regularly put up big scores, and his strokeplay, with creative use of wrists, seemed sublime, he was perceived to be lacking in concentration at crucial periods, resulting in soft dismissals, and critiqued for the inability to increase the size of his centuries. His average of 41.81 suggests he could have applied himself to optimise his talent a bit more. READ: Mark Waugh’s exquisite grace and steely determination floors South Africa at Port Elizabeth

But in ODIs, he averages 39.35, significantly higher than his brother, indicating his better suitability to the shorter format. In the 1996 World Cup, he scored three valuable centuries to take Australia to the final. READ: Mark Waugh: A stylist who was a sight for sore eyes

In 1998, he was fined for accepting money to provide information to a bookmaker, alongside Shane Warne. He is currently a national selector.

He announced retirement late 2002, when he lost his place in the side. Steve followed him a year later. The twins were brought up in Sydney, and encouraged to play a variety of sports by their family. They chose cricket, and in their own ways, established their imprint on it.