Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney January 1, 2012

Hussey nervous about Tendulkar


Australia are wary of Sachin Tendulkar ahead of the SCG's 100th Test, an occasion seemingly scripted to produce his 100th international century. Before the teams trained at the ground on New Year's Day, Michael Hussey said Tendulkar's return to the scene of three of his most satisfying innings carried portents of doom for the hosts.

Tendulkar was denied a hundred in Melbourne by a sharp delivery from Peter Siddle in the first innings, then sank with the rest of the batsmen in the second. But in each innings he showed the sort of touch that may easily bloom into a large score at the SCG, and Hussey said he was "nervous" at the thought.

"I am a bit nervous because the stars seem to be aligning with Sachin needing one more 100," Hussey said. "The 100th Test match in Sydney - 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."

Enthusiasm for Tendulkar's pursuit of his next 100 is vast among followers of the game both Australian and Indian, and Hussey remarked on the odd sensation of playing before a home crowd willing an opponent on towards success. "I do find that strange," Hussey said. "I can assure you that everyone in our dressing-room does not want him to make a 100. I think our bowlers down in Melbourne did an outstanding job, not just to Sachin but to all of their batsmen.

"They've got one of the best batting line-ups ever and the plans that we set and the way they [the bowlers] executed them were second to none. For a reasonably inexperienced attack to be able to do that job, and for long periods of time which is something we've been really working on, it's a real testament to the bowling group."

Irrespective of how well Australia's bowlers performed in Melbourne, they know Sydney may be quite a different scenario. While the pitch will offer some early assistance to the quicks, it shows less of the green tinge that has characterised its appearance in the previous two Test matches against England and Pakistan.

"Just from walking across the ground, it [the pitch] looks a lot less green than it has been over the last few years," Hussey said. "Certainly, in the last few years, I think the Sydney pitch has changed texture from when it used to be a real dust bowl and helped the spinners. The last few years have been really seamer friendly and there's been overhead conditions to help that as well."

In 2004 India stacked up a leviathan 7 for 705 in the first innings at the ground, while four summers ago it was 532, before Australia recovered to win in dramatic and acrimonious circumstances. Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid played in each match and will want to emulate those tallies.

"They're very experienced players. They know their game so well. They've played in Australia before," Hussey said of India's batsmen. "So I would expect them to bounce back very hard and we're going to have to make sure we're ready for a real counterattack. They'll be very determined.

"[But] we can take a lot of confidence out of the game in Melbourne. The way our bowlers were relentless with their line and length to the Indian batsmen, they know they're going to be in for a tough series."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on January 4, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    Continued --- Ponting (4th innings) 143* out of the 288 target against SA, 100* against SA in SA, 86 off 84 against NZ in NZ, 62 against SA in SA (with Steyn, Philander and Morkel in the opposition and Aus won by 2 Wics). Last 2 are small targets but I point it out because out of the 24 matches India lost in the 4th Innings, India too had low totals 1997-WI-target 120 (india a.o 81, sach 4), 1999 Pak target 270+ (Ind a.0 232 sach 9). Also of the 24 innings there were innings where a solid knock from Sachin could have drawn the match. There are also a few innings where India lost by 50-120 runs. Off the 51 centuries a couple could have come here and won matches. One thing is, in the 4th innings monumental career averages don't really count - only thing that counts is to play under pressure.

  • Ashok on January 4, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    @ TendulkarDgr8 - firstly your stats are based on 15 innings where India won in the 4th innings. Off the 5, 50+ contributions he made, the only 100 he made was setup was Sehwag (Sehwag won MoM for a 80 odd of 60 balls inspite of getting 9 in the first innings). So it is really unfair to say Sachin won the match for India. Off the other 4, in 2 of the innings he came in when half the runs were knocked off by the top 3. One was against WI recently (no comments), With SL he got out with 100 runs needed and Laxman scored a century. None of them are matches won by Tendulkar; he had a contribution. Compare that to Lara - 153* vs Aus (with Mcg, Gill, War, Mcgill) and played for last 60 with # 10 and 11; scored 80* in a match with SL in a match where 208 was the highest score in an innings.

  • Srinivas on January 2, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    I hope LillianThomson got a chance to read the newspapers in Australia/Sydney over the last 3 days and throws some light and convinces us about how all those thousands and thousands of Australian normal people are related to Indian Cricket and so are talking of the 100th century. Yeah, right! LOL..

  • Ganesh on January 2, 2012, 22:04 GMT

    I am tired of all those ignorant people who keep saying sachin does not win matches for india... So here are some statistics... Sachin averages 66.59 in the matches won by India... This is the highest average for an Indian batsmen who has played more than 10 test matches. Compare this against his average of 38.09 in test matches india have lost and you will know who is the match winner in the Indian team. And for those people who keep saying he does not play well in pressure situations... Well sachin has an astounding average of 72.5 in all the games that India have successfully chased in the 4th innings... This is second only to VVS Laxman... He has an average of 23.4 in the all matches india lost batting 4th... This only prooves that India wins which sachin plays well and india very rarely wins when he does not do well... So knock off your baseless accusations against Sachin who has served the game and the country for more than 21yrs...

  • zia on January 2, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    Hussey!!! No Need to be Nervous about Tendulkar or any other batsman Just prepare a Green Top Pitch and See the Result, All So Called GODS will be Out Under 15 on Score Board!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    Why do you guys keep spouting India king of flat track bullocks? You are king of crumbling sub standard pitches and 6 spinners. If your spinners can't take wickets then even SL can knock up 1000 runs. Your spinners are crap now, time to make green pitches and let your 120kph bowlers wobble them.

  • Syed on January 2, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    All said & done Sachin is the best batsman of all time!!!

  • Ishan on January 2, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    Hosts nervous about who?

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    sanga is the greatest batsman ever no argues about that

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    Continue with previous post

    Sachin Plays at no. 3 and 1 or 2 wickets down is not a worst condition for the team.and some cricket lovers are talking about wisden top -100... they should see carefully wisden... for example In Top 100 innings by bowler .. there is no name of shane warn in top - 100. even Harbhajan Sing got place 4-5 times in Top 100, and friends Murli Dharan also is not able to got a place in top - 10, while Anil Kumble is on 2nd no...

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