He hasn't scored a Test century for more than two years but 39-year-old Sachin Tendulkar struck a hundred for Mumbai on Friday in a timely warning to the touring Australians that he's determined to be a force in the upcoming series.
The Mumbai marvel reached three figures off 139 deliveries with 12 fours and two sixes on day three of his side's clash with Rest of India at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
Not only is Tendulkar Test cricket's leading run-scorer and he holds the mark for most centuries (51) but Friday's hundred was the right-hander's 81st at first-class level, equalling former Test captain Sunil Gavaskar's record among Indian players.
Like Test cricket's second-leading run-scorer Ricky Ponting, who retired from the Australian side earlier this summer after a run of lean form at the top level, Tendulkar has battled ongoing speculation about his playing future.
In the past two years, the 194-Test veteran has scored 953 runs in 17 matches at an average of 31.76 compared to his overall mark of 54.32.
Australia's four-Test series against India starts in Chennai on February 22. The first group of eight Australian players arrived in Chennai on Thursday night, with skipper Michael Clarke and others due to join the squad before Tuesday's opening warm-up game.