x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Hussey: stars seem to be aligning with Sachin Tendulkar

The Australian camp is nervous ahead of Sydney's 100th Test with Tendulkar on 99 hundreds.

Tendulkar averages 221 plus at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Tendulkar averages 221 plus at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Sachin Tendulkar's incredible record at Sydney Cricket Ground makes Mike Hussey nervous, but the Australian batsman and his teammates say they will do everything they can to prolong the India great's agonising wait for his 100th international century.

Tendulkar, stranded on 99 centuries in ODI and Test matches since March last year, averages 221-plus at the Sydney ground.

"I can assure you that everyone in our dressing room does not want him to make a 100," Hussey said yesterday.

"I am a bit nervous because the stars seem to be aligning with Sachin needing one more 100. [It is] the 100th Test match in Sydney, and he's made runs here before.

"It's a little bit ominous but hopefully we can make him wait until after this series and he can get a 100 in the first game of the next series that he plays."

India's Rohit Sharma said Tendulkar was not putting himself under any pressure ahead of the second Test of the four-match series starting tomorrow.

Tendulkar made 73 and 32 in the Boxing Day Test defeat to Australia at Melbourne, losing his wicket in both innings to paceman Peter Siddle. "I'm sure he's also not thinking of that. As we know, Sydney is his lucky ground so hopefully it happens here," Sharma said.

"We need to focus on what we have to do now. The process is still on. Hopefully things will turn around for us," Sharma added on India's collapse on the fourth day as Australia won by 122 runs.

The last time the teams met at Sydney Cricket Ground was in 2008 when a row - involving India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh being accused of racially abusing Andrew Symonds - soured relations between the sides.

"That was a long time ago and the personalities and teams have changed quite a lot, particularly in our team," Hussey said.

"That's gone, that's in the past. I think the players that were involved in all the controversies have moved on, even played together."

Hussey predicted the Sydney ground would regain its spin-friendly reputation even though it favoured pace bowlers in the previous two New Year Tests against Pakistan (2009) and England (2010).

"The last few years have been really seamer friendly, and there have been overhead conditions to help that as well," he said.

"It looks definitely a lighter colour and generally that's the way it's gone over here, it has slowed down a little bit and helped the spinners as the game's gone on."

Hussey's prediction would be good news for off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who could lose out to Australia's returning fast bowler Ryan Harris, should the team opt for a four-pronged pace attack.

Lyon did not help his cause with just one wicket in two innings at Melbourne, when he removed the No 11 batsman Umesh Yadav with the last ball of the match.

* Reuters