Perth: India on Thursday looked set to extend star batsman Sachin Tendulkar's long wait for his elusive 100th international century by resisting calls to scrap their top-order rotation policy.
Captain MS Dhoni would not confirm if Tendulkar would be rested for Sunday's tri-series game against Australia, but said India would continue to drop one of their top three to make space for Rohit Sharma in the middle order.
In Wednesday's four-wicket win over Sri Lanka, Tendulkar cruised to 48 but then chopped onto his stumps, making it an agonising 27 innings that he has been stuck on 99 centuries - a wait that goes back to last March.
"I will look to rotate as I want Rohit [Sharma] to play as many games as possible," said MS Dhoni.
"You will have to wait and watch," Dhoni said. "I will look to rotate as I want Rohit to play as many games as possible. It gives him an opportunity to get set into the side. As of now, we will still look to rotate the openers," Dhoni said.
The 38-year-old Tendulkar, who holds the all-time records for the most centuries, runs and appearances in both Test and one-day cricket, has not got into three figures since his 111 against South Africa at the World Cup.
Opener Virender Sehwag missed the opening tri-series game against Australia at the MCG on Sunday, while Gautam Gambhir was rested in Perth on Wednesday, suggesting Tendulkar was next in line for the drop. However, Sehwag remains in poor form in Australia after the usually dashing right-hander holed out to third man for 10 on Wednesday.
Batting great Sunil Gavaskar also called for Tendulkar to play in every match, insisting that players should only be replaced in the side due to poor form.
"I think Sachin should be playing in all matches," Gavaskar told a news channel. "If you want to use a rotation policy, then it should be used for all the players."
Sharma has also failed in his two innings in the tri-series, but Dhoni backed the right-hander to rediscover his best form.
"It is very important to give a long run to a batsman like him," he said. "We believe in his talent."
Dhoni was also hopeful in-form batsman Virat Kohli would be fit for Sunday's game in Adelaide despite being helped from the field with what appeared to be a hamstring strain after being run out for 77. He said India believed Kohli had only suffered cramps.