If Sachin Tendulkar had an option to select the venue for his 100th international century, it would be the first Test at Lord’s.
However, of all the venues he has played across the world, the odds will be the highest here. In four Tests and seven innings, his highest score is 37 at an average of 21.28.
The Lord’s mirage
Somehow, Tendulkar has not been able to figure out a way of getting runs at cricket's Mecca.
It's not just Tendulkar, success has eluded Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara too.
However, if Tendulkar needs advice to break the jinx, all he needs to do is approach Dilip Vengsarkar, his former Mumbai captain.
Vengsarkar, who will be in attendance at the first Test, has the distinction of scoring a hat-trick of centuries at the hallowed turf, starting with 103 in 1979, when he helped save the Test, followed by a 157 in 1982 before capping it with a glorious unbeaten 126 to power India to victory.
“It (Lord's) has tradition, history, and the atmosphere is so special. You get an adrenaline rush as you walk through the Long Room to go to the ground. It lifts you,” said Vengsarkar.
Playing at Lord’s presents its challenges but the key is not to allow the occasion to get to you. Then, there is the issue of adjusting to the surface, which has a slope of eight-and-half-feet from the Grand Stand side to the Tavern & Mound Stand side.
Smart bowlers exploit it to their advantage. “It's the incoming ball which is most dangerous from the bowler bowling with the slope,” said Vengsarkar.
Apart from that, Vengsarkar felt Tendulkar needed no advice. "He's the best batsman in the world and is batting at his best. He will get his 100th hundred here," the former India captain said confidently.
The danger man for India will be England’s towering fast bowler, Chris Tremlett, who will be a handful on the sloping wicket. And, skipper Andrew Strauss promised his team wouldn't make it any easier for Tendulkar.
“His 100th century mark won’t be a distraction for us and we have our plans for him.”