It will be a tough series for Lanka, says Arjuna

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Chennai, Jul 17 (UNI) Sri Lanka Cricket Board Chairman and former captain Arjuna Ranatunga today said the forthcoming three Test and five match ODI series would be a ''battle between spinners Muthiah Muralitharan and the new spinning sensation Ajantha Mendis on the one side and India's strong batting line up on the other.'' Talking to newspersons after unveiling a strategic alliance between a travel solutions provider 'Travelorg' and the Board, he said ''a series with India has been the toughest for us always, whether we play them at home or in India.'' As former captain, ''I see this series a test for our bowlers like Murali and Ajantha against Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.

Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman have also been in good form in Tests,'' Arjuna said.

''It will be the toughest series for us and a big challenge for us against India's strongest batting line up,'' he said, pointing out that Sachin would be raring to go as he was approaching Lara's world record of maximum runs by a batsman in Test cricket.

Arjuna, however, refused to reveal the nature of wickets which were being prepared for the series. ''I don't think I will say anything on that.'' Asked if the Sri Lankan team would be enjoying the psychological advantage having defeated India in Asia Cup, he said ''Asia Cup is done and gone. The players are now concerned about the Test matches.

Asia Cup was 50 overs game. Test cricket is different.'' UNI VV RAR HT1605

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