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Aug 31, 2009

Victorious Sri Lanka turns focus on India

Having toyed with Pakistan & New Zealand, Kumar Sangakkara's Sri Lanka are eyeing India as their next scalp as the battle heats up to be the world's top Test team.

Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan & New Zealand by identical 2-0 margins at home to climb to the number Second spot in the official rankings with a rating of 120 behind number one team South Africa's 122.

With India just one rating point behind in Sri Lanka on 119 and Ashes Series losers Australia in fourth place with 116, the rush at the top could see a new number one by the end of the year.

Sri Lanka wants to win their three-Test series in India in November-December to overtake South Africa, while a 2-0 win for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will drive India to the top.

Sri Lanka have never won a Test match Series in India, let only a series, in seven previous visits across the Palk Straits, with 8 losses and 6 draws since their first Test there in Chennai in 1982.

It's a record Sangakkara, who has won 4 of his 5 Tests as captain since taking over from Mahela Jayawardene earlier this year, is firm to set straight.

"The Indian tour will test everyone, mentally, physically and skill wise," he told reporters.

"But if we do our homework right, be confident, prepare as best as we can and go out there looking to win, and if our attitude is positive, we will do well."

When they last played a series in India in December, 2005, Sri Lanka lost the 2nd Test in New Delhi by 188 runs and the 3rd in Ahmedabad by 259 runs after the first game in Chennai was washed out.

"One likes to play against the best and India will absolutely be a tough side to conquer," said Sangakkara. "It is not easy playing Test cricket in India."

Both sides get a chance to gauge each other's powers when India join New Zealand and Sri Lanka in a limited-overs tri-series in Colombo from September 8-14.

India and Sri Lanka are wan in different group for the Champions Trophy in South Africa in late-September, but could meet in the semi-finals if they qualify after the preliminary round.

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