Cricket: Warne's `fairytale' homecoming

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SHANE WARNE hopes to become Australia's leading Test wicket-taker on his home ground next week - provided the weather holds. Thunderstorms are forecast for the second Test between India and Australia which starts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

Warne said it would be a "fairytale" to take the seven wickets needed to overhaul Dennis Lillee's Australian record of 355 before his own MCG crowd. But the leg-spinner, already Test cricket's most prolific slow bowler, realises the record could have to wait.

"It would be nice to do it here in Melbourne," said Warne, who has 349 wickets from 79 Tests. "I probably needed a few more wickets in the first Test at Adelaide but we won, and that was the main thing.

"Whenever it happens it will be great," he said. "You don't play for records but when they are there in front of you, you give yourself a bit of a pat on the back and say well done."

The fact that Warne rates the Indians the best players of spin bowling in the world could delay his tilt at the record. Some 65,000 fans are expected on Boxing Day to watch Sachin Tendulkar take the field for only his second Test at the MCG. The maestro made 15 and 40 as an 18-year-old during the Test match in 1991.

Tendulkar and bowler Javagal Srinath are the only tourists to have played at the MCG before. Coach Kapil Dev has played three Tests at the venue.

"It's a great feeling to play at the MCG, just like it is at the Eden Gardens in Calcutta," Kapil said. "Players like to perform before big crowds."