Australia captain Michael Clarke has put his batsmen on notice that a nice 50 isn't going to cut it on this tour of India.

The skipper says if the tourists are going to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the four-Test series starting on Friday in Chennai they'll have to cash in whenever one of their specialist batsmen gets a start.

While the game's leading runscorer Sachin Tendulkar hasn't scored a Test hundred in the past two years, Clarke is expecting the little master to fire against Australia and the skipper is demanding the tourists show the same level of application.

"Like all players it's always tough at the start of your innings," Clarke told reporters on Thursday.

"What I know about players like Sachin is once they get in, especially in conditions they're so accustomed to, it's really difficult to get them out.

"So the key is if you get any sort of momentum in the subcontinent you have to run with it for as long as you possibly can.

"One of the things I spoke to the boys the other day about is that it's more crucial here if you get a start to go on and make a big score.

"So if you make a 50, a 60, a 70, and get out, you're more accountable there than the guy who made zero because it is a really difficult place to start, especially against spin or walking in against the reverse-swinging ball.

"So the guys who get a start, it's up to them to take the team forward and keep running with that momentum.

"The same if we get a wicket. We know it's hard for the new batter to start, so we need to be on our game as soon as that new batter comes in and run with the momentum for as long as possible."

Clarke has led by example with over 1000 runs with three hundreds including two double tons and four half-centuries in the past 12 months in nine Tests.

His vice-captain Shane Watson, who will remain at No.4 despite preferring a return to his favourite spot at the top of the order, is one player who immediately springs to mind in terms of converting starts into big scores.

Watson has a record of 19 half-centuries and two hundreds in 38 Tests and could be the difference between the two sides if he can turn his starts into big scores.

The ex-Queenslander, who now plays for NSW, says he has been inspired by Hayden's 549-run performance on the three-Test tour of India in 2001.

"That really was the catalyst for him as a Test cricketer. So everyone draws inspiration from what Matty Hayden did," Watson told AAP.

While Watson wants to open but is happy to bat at No.4 if that's what the team needs, Clarke has admitted he would also potentially benefit from a change in batting position but is staying at No.5 for team balance.

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