India have batsmen to counter Mendis, says Kumble

CHENNAI, July 14, 2008 (AFP) – India captain Anil Kumble said Monday he was confident his experienced batsmen will see off the threat posed by spinner Ajantha Mendis in the Test series in Sri Lanka. The Indian players found Mendis virtually unplayable in the recent Asia Cup final in Karachi, where the spinner grabbed 6-13 with subtle variations to script his team’s emphatic 100-run victory.

“This team has enough experience to handle any threat and spin has never been a problem. However, we are not going to take anyone lightly, let alone Mendis,” Kumble said on the eve of the team’s departure to Sri Lanka.

“We need to respect every bowler. My interaction with some of our players was that they had some difficulty in picking him, but in Test cricket we have a lot more time to get ready.”

Mendis, 23, is likely to make his Test debut against India after giving a good account of himself in eight one-day internationals.

India open the tour with a three-day practice match in Colombo from Friday, the only warm-up game before the three-Test series starts on July 23.

The Indian batting line-up has been bolstered with the return of veterans Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly