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Steve: Sachin will waltz past me

Cairns: Another Test match brought another bagful of records for Australia captain Steve Waugh on Sunday as the game’s most-capped player scored his 32nd hundred in the second Test against Bangladesh.

Waugh’s 156 not out in Australia’s 556 for four declared helped to put the home side within six wickets of a 2-0 series sweep against the visitors. It also gave the 38-year-old Waugh the record of being the only player to score 150 against the other nine Test-playing nations, adding to his mark in last week’s first Test of a world record 37 wins as skipper.

Waugh’s second successive hundred put him outright second on the all-time list, behind only India’s Sunil Gavaskar with 34 centuries.

“There’s always a chance (of making 35 hundreds). It doesn’t really matter what I set, Sachin Tendulkar (with 31) is going to waltz past that one anyway,” Waugh told a news conference on Sunday.

“I know once I got a hundred today I was pretty focused on getting 150. I knew I wouldn’t get another chance.

“I’m pleased with that. It’s nice to have that record,” added Waugh, the game’s second-leading run-scorer.

Waugh, who has overcome a form lapse to hit four hundreds since January, said he wanted to prove a point to himself after constant media speculation during the 2002-03 Ashes series that his career might be over.

“Really I just wanted to be positive. If I was going to finish up last year, I wanted to go out on my terms and that was playing some shots,” Waugh said.

“Perhaps that may have released some pressure and I’ve gone out there and just tried to play the ball on its merits.

“I knew I was good enough to play for Australia still and I wanted to prove that to myself and I wanted to come back and show people.”

Bangla praised

Bangladesh may be on the verge of another big hiding in the second Test here, but Waugh said Sunday the newest Test nation are showing huge improvement. “Bangladesh won’t realise how much they’ve improved until they play someone else after this series, because I think there’s been massive improvement in all facets of their game,” Waugh said after the third day.

“I think they’ll be very competitive after this. There’s no way you’ll find Bangladesh losing regularly by an innings after this — they’ll have a lot of self-belief.”

Praising the Bangladesh batting, Waugh said his powerful Australian attack — considered the best in the game — had fired all their guns and still found it hard to take wickets.

“Our bowlers have given it everything,” he said. “We have not held back. Bangladesh have batted very well.”

Waugh said Bangladesh had uncovered an outstanding player in 20-year-old opener Hannan Sarkar, who completed a fine double with scores of 76 and 55. “He has played superbly in both innings. Both were top quality knocks. He looks a very good player.”

“Even late in the day, the number six batsman (Alok Kopali) came in and took a few knocks on the body and didn’t show any pain — he showed he’s there for a battle, and that is good,” Waugh said.

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