Colombo:India's world batting record holder Sachin Tendulkar will become the most-capped Test player on Tuesday, adding another milestone in one of cricket's most accomplished careers.
Tendulkar will overtake former Australian captain Steve Waugh when he takes the field for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at the P. Sara Oval for his 169th match.
The 37-year-old has also played 442 one-day internationals, just two behind Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya's record of 444 appearances.
Tendulkar, who was 16 when he made his debut against Pakistan in Karachi in 1989, is the leading run-getter and century-maker in both Test and one-day cricket.
He has scored 13,742 runs in 168 Tests at an average of 56.08, with 48 hundreds and 55 half-centuries.
In 442 one-dayers, he has 17,598 runs with 46 centuries, including the first ever double-hundred in the limited-overs format against South Africa earlier this year.
Tendulkar opted out of the Twenty20 version at the international level after just one match, although he still plays it in the domestic Indian Premier League.
Besides his record-shattering batting feats, Tendulkar has also claimed 44 Test and 154 one-day wickets, bowling both seam and leg-spin.
Tendulkar, who was expected to attend a news conference later on Monday, has recalled in recent interviews being unsure of getting a second chance 21 years ago.
"After I got out for 15 in my first innings against Pakistan, I was not sure I would play another Test match," he said. "I felt I really did not belong there.
"Luckily, I got some runs in the next match and felt more confident. Looking back now, it was a great learning experience."
Age has not diminished Tendulkar's hunger for runs. He has hit five Test centuries this year alone, including a 203 last week in the previous match against Sri Lanka.
"As long as you are mentally strong and prepared to go through the grind, age really does not matter," Tendulkar said after the drawn Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
"I think everyone should just stop talking about the age factor. If I can score a double hundred at 37, I don't think age really matters."
Among cricketers still playing, Australian captain Ricky Ponting is next in line with 146 Tests, followed by Rahul Dravid of India (141) and South Africans Jacques Kallis (140) and Mark Boucher (134).
Leading Test appearances (before Tuesday's match):
168 - Sachin Tendulkar (IND)
168 - Steve Waugh (AUS) - retired
156 - Allan Border (AUS) - retired
146 - Ricky Ponting (AUS)
145 - Shane Warne (AUS) - retired
141 - Rahul Dravid (IND)
140 - Jacques Kallis (RSA)
134 - Mark Boucher (RSA)