Sydney: Sachin Tendulkar's wait for his elusive 100th international century is likely to come to an end during the second Test against Australia here, says Tom Parker, the pitch curator of the Sydney Cricket Ground.
While Australian coach Mickey Arthur claims to have found "chinks in the armours" of Indian batsmen, Parker feels Tendulkar should reach the milestone where he averages an astonishing 221.
"It would be fantastic if Tendulkar gets his century here. If I am not wrong, he scored 150-odd at this venue the last time. I don't see why it should change," said Parker.
Tendulkar has an incredible record at the SCG, where he scored his first century on his maiden visit to this part of the world in 1991-92.
Over the years, Tendulkar has notched up two more centuries here, which helped his average to soar to 221.33 with 664 runs from four Tests and seven innings.
The curator believes that batting will be difficult especially on the first day of the match but the track would ease later.
"It's very similar to the Ashes pitch last year. It's the same pitch, same grass. It will first do a little bit and then settle down," he said.
Parker agrees with the general observation that the pitch would have pace and bounce.
"For the last few years, there's been a bit more grass.
"It has happened for the last 5-6 years. I am very happy with how the pitch behaved last year or the year before.
"It will have pace and bounce. But it would be consistent and that's how I look to prepare pitches. I hope it's not (like MCG).
The last few years, it has played very well over five days of cricket," Parker said.
Parker was emphatic that pacemen would get good purchase from the surface on the first day and that spinners would have their say on day four and five.
"There will be more on day one (for pacers). When it's overcast and humid it swings more here. But as I said the bounce is good and even, and it would turn at some stage, maybe on day three but definitely on day four and five."
There's been only one draw at the SCG over the last 16 years and 18 Test matches and Parker sees no reason why it should be different this time around.
"I am hoping it's a result wicket. That's my track record. I have prepared many result wickets in Test matches at this venue," he said.
Incidentally, the only draw at this venue was the 2003-04 Test between India and Australia when the visitors made 704 runs, topped by Tendulkar's unbeaten 241.
Parker admits he was a bit concerned about the pitch preparation as it has been unusually cold and rainy over the last few weeks.
"I was a bit concerned early on. But the weather has cleared up over the last few weeks. There's sun out today and it's to be
very warm tomorrow. Indeed, the last few days have been fantastic," he said.
Parker also dismissed reports the he prepared the pitch as per the instuctions from the Australian team.
"The players haven't spoken to me. I've been left alone to my own devices. (As for the Indians), they generally enquired about the pitch preparation and how's the weather going to be," he said.