Birmingham, Aug 10: With their back squarely against the wall, India will be hoping that their side converges as a single fighting unit and let their willow play a far more engaging and challenging role than it has in the last two Tests against England. With all the pre-series hype weighing on the tortured brow of Sachin Tendulkar to secure his 100th international century, the time seems more than ripe for him to reach that epoch.
On a less-than impressive run of 34,12, 16 and 56 in the current series, the indications though not altogether ominous, at least show that Tendulkar is warming to the English conditions again. Granted, the burden of team's endeavour to win a Test match should not fall on the shoulders of one man, a longer presence of Sachin at the crease will help guide the rest of the floundering middle-order.
From 51 Test centuries, 8 have come against England. And from those games, he has helped his side win three encounters and draw three fixtures, while the remaining two were in a losing cause. On English soil, he brags a an average of 58.80 (which is a shade above his overall average) with 4 centuries and 7 half-centuries to his credit. If he is able to curb his weakness, namely, the loose drives outside off-stump and holding back from padding up to deliveries that cut in, he could do exceedingly well.
Most important of all, he must pace himself, at first observing a defencive routine to soften up that hard cherry and then upping his scoring rate, perhaps towards the end of the day's proceedings. A veteran of playing in these locales, Sachin must call up all the mastery that he has put to use and excelled by in his numerous previous tours of Ole Blighty.