Sachin's 100th hundred will be a blessing for Tests: Clarke

Sydney, Jan 2 (IANS) Australia captain Michael Clarke feels Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international hundred will inject life in the dwindling popularity of Test cricket but also insisted that they will give their best to deny the Indian great the milestone during the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) starting Tuesday.

Clarke, speaking at the pre-match conference ahead of the second Test, said the build-up to the match has been 'outstanding' and Tendulkar deserves all the attention for getting so close to the milestone.

'I think it is great for cricket. He is a legend of this game, as good as I have seen in my time. The build up has been outstanding for the fans who have got another reason to come and watch Test cricket,' Clarke said.

'But with due respect to Sachin, I hope his hundred doesn't come in this series. I would prefer to watch it on television in his next series. He has been a great player and deserves all the credit he has received.'

Clarke will be leading Australia for the first time on this ground which will be hosting its 100th Test. The 30-year-old described the opportunity as a great honour.

'It is nice to be playing here in SCG as always and very special to captain Australia in the 100th Test here. I think it will sink in the next 24 hours. It has been a busy time, coming from Melbourne and a lot of training ahead of the match. But to have family and friends watching me, it is certainly an honour and a privilege to be leading Australia.'

Clarke is familiar with the nature of the Sydney pitch which has quickened in the recent past besides offering help to the spinners. The captain reckoned that will be good for batting though it will be tough to bat on the opening day.

'The last couple of years it (the pitch) has quickened up a bit. There has been enough there for the bowlers, swing and seam and you need to try and adapt to that, but I think it certainly feels like my home ground. The way I play I guess is very similar to the conditions I have faced, from an 18-year-old boy until only the last couple of years it has probably changed,' he said.

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