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McGrath Wants To Finish 100th Test On Winning Note Email this page
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Nagpur, Oct. 25 (NNN): As Australia look to clinch the series with victory in Nagpur, team’s strike bowler Glenn McGrath wants to celebrate his 100th Test starting against India here on Tuesday with a match-winning performance. Expecting a bowler friendly pitch, McGrath will be the eighth Australian to gain his 100th cap, said: "It has plenty of grass which is a bit of a surprise in India. I don't think the wicket will provide the same pace or bounce like the Australian wickets.
"But it certainly looks better for fast bowlers than what we have seen at Bangalore and Chennai," he added.

The strike bowler is four short of equaling Richie Benaud's record haul of 29 victims in India.

McGrath, 34, will become only the third specialist fast bowler after West Indian Courtney Walsh and Pakistan's Wasim Akram to play a century of Tests when he takes the field in the third Test.

"A five-wicket haul would be great, so would a 10-wicket match," McGrath said on Sunday. "Then maybe a 50 with the bat."

He said the game plan was still to try and get some early wickets and, when the ball becomes old, to try and get some reverse swing going.

However, the pace bowler is likely to encounter Sachin Tendulkar for the first time in this series as the Indian legend returns from an elbow injury.

McGrath named Tendulkar alongside Brian Lara as his most challenging opponents.

"Any batsman on his day is difficult to bowl to but I will choose Sachin and Brian as the two best batsmen I have bowled to," he said, adding: "I have had some success against Brian, but on other occasions he's got lot of runs against us. Sachin too. Sachin is obviously one of the best batsmen in the world. On his day he's a tough challenge. He has not played a lot of cricket lately, but I am looking forward to bowling to him."

Known for his accuracy outside the off-stump and his guile with the new ball, McGrath has picked up 446 Test wickets in 99 matches at an average of 21.73 since making his debut against New Zealand in Perth in 1993.

"When I walk out for the Test in a couple of days, it will be very special. It's something I'm really looking forward to."

The New South Wales bowler said his next target was 500 Test wickets.

"That would perhaps be a time when I can look back and reassess things and see how long I want to go on." McGrath has taken six wickets in the first two Tests to assist Australia to a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

He said he was happy with the way he had adjusted to conditions in India, always a tough place for fast bowlers because of the slow, low pitches.

Only a few months ago McGrath was being written off after he was sidelined for a year with a career-threatening ankle injury.

"There were some tough times," he said. "One day I would feel my ankle couldn't get any worse and another day I would feel it was the best it ever was.

"I've hopefully got a few years in me. I'm only 34, Walsh and Wasim played till longer so I've got a few years on them."

McGrath, a confirmed number 11, even defended his skill with the bat.

"I always believe number 11 is the most difficult position," he said. "There are times when you're hitting the ball well and the other guy gets out. There goes a 50!"

* MOST-CAPPED AUSTRALIANS

= Steve Waugh - 168 = Allan Border - 156 = Mark Waugh - 128 = Ian Healy - 119 = Shane Warne - 114 = David Boon - 107 = Mark Taylor – 104.


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