Tendulkar needs just 15 runs to overtake West Indian Brian Lara's Test match tally of 11,953 runs and establish a fourth world record in his illustrious career.
The 35-year-old is already the world's top-scorer in one-day internationals (16,361) and has the most centuries in Test matches (39) and one-dayers (42).
The master batsman came close to surpassing Lara's milestone in the second innings of the drawn first Test in Bangalore where his gritty 49 helped steer the hosts to a draw.
The other senior batsmen, including Venkatsai Laxman, Rahul Dravid and the retiring Sourav Ganguly, also hit valuable innings to rescue India from defeat.
However, skipper Anil Kumble left many questions hanging over his form and fitness with the injured 37-year-old veteran leg-spinner wicketless for only the third time in his Test career, the first time ever in front of a home crowd.
The captain also dropped two catches off his own bowling to cap a miserable outing.
Kumble will assess his fitness before deciding on his availability for Mohali, where the wicket is known for being lively and may tempt India to use an extra fast bowler at his or Harbhajan Singh's expense.
Singh took just one wicket in Bangalore but hit a handy 54.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting's spin options include specialist Cameron White, who claimed Tendulkar as his maiden Test scalp in Bangalore.
Part-time spinner Michael Clarke contained the Indian batsmen and took two wickets despite the track providing little assistance to the slow bowlers. Off-spinner Jason Krejza is also available, although he failed to shine in a warm-up game in Hyderabad before the first Test.
The action off the field has heated up ahead of the Test, with Indian paceman Zaheer Khan doubting Australia's bowling ability and Ponting retorting by saying only his team played aggressive cricket throughout.
The Mohali Test will be followed by matches in Delhi and Nagpur.