New Delhi: Former cricketers on Friday blamed the hype over Sachin Tendulkar's bid for his 100th international hundred and the batsmen's inability to cope with seaming conditions for India's defeats in Australia.
India suffered their sixth successive Test defeat away from home, including four in England, when they lost the second Test to Australia by an innings and 68 runs in Sydney on Friday.
Tendulkar's bid for an unprecedented century of international centuries has been the talking point since he cracked his 99th hundred against South Africa at the World Cup in March. "The Little Master" has now gone 17 Test innings and four one-dayers without a century despite twice entering into 90s.
He looked set to complete the elusive century on Friday before falling for 80.
"What India would have liked was that Sachin get the century out of the way even if the match was lost," former Australian captain Ian Chappell said.
"But that did not happen. I think that hundred is weighing on Sachin's mind. If the 100 had come in Sydney, he and India would have gone to the next Test with a lot of relief," he added.
Tendulkar already holds four batting world records - most runs in Tests (15,409) and one-day internationals (18,111) and most hundreds in Tests (51) and one-dayers (48).
"It is clear now that after 50 runs, Tendulkar battles the demons in his head more than the bowlers on the field," former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said on Twitter.
Former India skipper Bishan Singh Bedi, however, praised Australia's superb all-round skill for gaining a 2-0 lead in the ongoing four-Test series.
"Why should it (Tendulkar's 100th ton) affect the team? He is still scoring runs. Only we are obsessed with records and statistics," the legendary former left-arm spinner told AFP.
"He has scored 99 hundreds and will score the 100th. They (Australia) were a lot more spirited. They want to get back to their number one position which they had lost," he said.
Former India all-rounder Kapil Dev said the team should matter more than the record.
"Of course, individual landmarks matter, but we seem to be more interested in them than on how the team performs. Sachin is batting well and the 100th century will come," he told the Headlines Today.
Former India batsman Ashok Malhotra also said Tendulkar's eagerly-awaited 100th century was hard to ignore for other players.
"We are always talking about Tendulkar's 100th hundred and that has affected the team," he told AFP.
"I think the (Indian) batsmen are very good on flat tracks (at home) but they always struggle in seaming conditions," he added.