Melbourne: The pressure of expectations surrounding his 100th international century will definitely be playing on Sachin Tendulkar's mind as the milestone once again eluded the champion batsman, said former Australia fast bowler Merv Hughes.
Tendulkar fell just 27 runs short of the feat when he was done in by a beauty from Peter Siddle that went through his gate and hit the stumps, with the right-hander looking on course at 73.
"Everyone's making it (the record) a big deal and there's been a lot of media about it as he's been on the verge for so long. It's got to be playing on his mind, there's no doubt about that," Hughes said.
After dismissing Australia for 333 in the first innings, India rode on a solid 117-run third-wicket partnership between Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid (68 not out) and opener Virender Sehwag's quickfire 67 to reach 214 for three at close on the second day of the first Test in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Hughes, however, was of the view that Tendulkar was at his vintage best during the 73-run knock.
"It's nine months since he's scored a hundred, that's like me not eating for two days," he joked.
"We've heard talk today of choking...he batted really well, he was really positive, and then I suppose late in the day it looked as though he just shut up shop so he could be there tomorrow," the 50-year-old former pacer told Fox Sports News.
Hughes compared Tendulkar's situation with that of former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, who imbibed new life to his career with a gritty 62-run knock during Australia's first innings.
"Ricky Ponting's scored three 50s in his last five knocks and people are saying he should be dropped. Tendulkar, OK, he's not getting a hundred but he's getting 60s, 70s and 80s and then falling short of that magic mark," he said.
"If I made an 80 in Test cricket I'd be absolutely thrilled but people are saying to Tendulkar, 'bad luck'."
Hughes also voted in favour of the controversial Decision Review System, and criticised the Indian cricket board for its reluctance to use the technology. He said the ICC is a puppet of the BCCI and the DRS will never see the light of the day on a compulsory basis unless India agree to it.
"If the players can't use it, I can't understand how the umpires can," Hughes said.
"For a ball that close, if he doesn't call it, why has the umpire got the ability to go to the review system when the players don't? Everyone's saying that the ICC should come over the top and make the decisions. Ultimately, everyone knows that the ICC is run by Indian cricket, so if India don't want the review system, we're not going to have the review system," he added.