Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium is a special place for Sachin Tendulkar. The Master Blaster has a great record at the ground and he will be looking forward to continue his love affair there when the first India-Australia Test starts on February 22.
Tendulkar warmed up for the big Australian challenge with a fine hundred for Mumbai in the Irani Cup on Friday (February 8) at the Wankhede Stadium. The Master Blaster looked in great touch and remained unbeaten on 140.
These are good signs for the 39-year-old, who is searching for his first Test hundred since January 2011. And he could not have asked for a better venue to start the series against Michael Clarke-led side. This will be Tendulkar's first Test match since retiring from One Day Internationals in December, 2012.
Tendulkar is 124 runs short of completing 1,000 Test runs at MA Chidambaram Stadium. He averages an impressive 87.60 at this venue with five hundreds. His highest score at this ground is 165 against England.
Looking at the past record, Tendulkar should score big runs in Chennai in the first Test. With a good practice in Irani Cup, Tendulkar is looking in great frame of mind to take on the Australian bowling attack.
Tendulkar's first appearance at the stadium situated in Chepauk was way back in 1993. Even 20 years later, the Mumbai man is still around in the international arena when the rest who featured in that game have retired. His first Test in Chennai was on February 11, 1993 against England. He smashed 165 then, which still is his highest at this venue.
That hundred was a special one as it was his first in India and that won him Man-of-the-match award. India won by an innings and 22 runs.
Against the same opposition in 2008, yet another memorable hundred was constructed by Tendulkar as India chased down 387. Tendulkar remained not out on 103 in that famous win coming just over two weeks of terrorist attacks on Mumbai on November 26.
Talking about Australia, Tendulkar averages 100.66 at this venue against them in two Tests (two tons). In 1998, he smashed Shane Warne and went on to score 155 not out. India won that game by 179 runs.
In the historic 2001 series, Tendulkar scored 126 in the first innings as India won by two wickets and clinched the series 2-1. This was the final Test and came after the famous Kolkata game where VVS Laxman made 281.
In two Tests against Australia in Chennai, Tendulkar has accumulated 302 runs with two hundreds.
Apart from these highs, Chennai is a ground which Tendulkar will also remember for one of the most heartbreaking moments of his cricket career. That happened in 1999.
In a chase of 271 against Pakistan in the month of January, Tendulkar almost single-handedly took India to victory. But without much support from others, India fell short by 12 runs. Tendulkar, who had bat with a bad back, hit 136 and was the seventh man dismissed. His departure put Pakistan on way to a famous triumph.
When Tendulkar steps on to the ground on February 22 for his 10th Test in Chennai, he will certainly hoping to make it special, as it could be his last there.
Sachin Tendulkar's record in Chennai
Matches: 9; Runs: 876; Average: 87.60; Hundreds: 5; Highest Score: 165 Vs England, 1993