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Nov 13, 2009

Sri Lanka bank on bowling variety ahead of Tests

After experiencing a day of unseasonably rains that brought Mumbai to an idle, the Sri Lankan Cricket team woke up to a clearer sky on Thursday. But the rain stayed away, the killing it left behind ensured that the visitors could do little in terms of their preparation for the Three Test series against India. The Sri Lankans reached the ground more than an hour before the Board President's XI team did, but they had to sit around waiting for the umpires before heading indoors again. There was a pitch inspection at 1 pm, but it prove to be a mere procedure as play was called off again.

Team manager Brendon Kuruppu said that the visitors used the unexpected time off beneficially. "We have missed two full days of practice, but we've exhausted our time well, practicing indoors and utilizing the facilities," the former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman said. "Going to Ahmedabad earlier than planned in order to get in an additional outdoor session before the first Test is an option," he said.

Sri Lanka have a very poor history in India, They never won the test Series. Particularly in the game's long format 14 Tests without ever really coming close to winning. But Brendon Kuruppu insists that the present lot not only has an extra spring in its stride, but also a venomous sting in its tail. "We've done well in Tests in the last two years all over the world. This young lot is full with confidence," he says. "Our batsmen have done well here on most occasions. But never before has a Lankan team landed in India with such a strong bowling attack," he says.

In Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka have three different spinners. While Muralitharan may not have the great record in India, he did return home with 16 wickets in 2005, and the Indian batsmen are well alert of the perils associated with Mendis. Herath, meanwhile, has reinvented himself in recent times, outperforming even Muralitharan during the recent home series against Pakistan and New Zealand.

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