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Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara heaped praises on Sachin Tendulkar, who would complete 20 years in international cricket on November 15.
Sangakkara, who arrived with his Lankan teamamtes in India on Sunday called the Indian the "greatest player of the modern era".

"He (Tendulkar) has been brilliant. To have survived the tough test of public expectation in India is something, which should be commended. The runs (he has scored) are an added bonus. He's probably the greatest player to play the game in the modern era and compares with the (Donald) Bradmans and all the legends of the past," Sangakkara said.

"We run out of superlatives when talking about Sachin. He keeps getting better and better. Being that consistent under such pressure (from fans), especially at home is a wonderful thing," the Lankan captain and one-down batsman gushed.

Asked about any game plan his team had in the upcoming three-Test rubber to contain the master batsman, Sangakkara gave a wry smile and said there can be plans and plans which may not work against Tendulkar who made his Test debut against Pakistan at Karachi on November 15, 1989.

"A lot of people have game plan (for Tendulkar). We have to see what works. When a batsman is scoring runs and doing the way Sachin is doing he will be a threat to any team. It's nothing new. I have been answering this question over the years (whether he would be a threat). The answer is always yes," he said.

"It's a great option to have three spinners with someone like Angelo Mathews who is bowling so well. He gives us that flexibility as a frontline fast bowler and batsman. It frees us one spot if the wicket shows us that three spinners are a possibility," Sangakkara said.
However, he added, that on a regular basis his team went in with three fast bowlers and two spin bowlers.

"Most often we like to play three fast bowlers and two spinners. The Angelo Mathews factor gives us the edge of having a proper all-rounder in the side," he explained.

Sangakkara maintained that there was no mystery left in world cricket with the video analysis that's available today.

"Words like mystery are exaggerated. You are a mystery only in your first series with the sort of video analysis available. You have to work harder later on," he said.

Lankan mystery bowler Ajantha Mendis had troubled most of the top Indian batsmen when the last series between the two outfits was held in the Emerald Island.

Sangakkara praised left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for the progress he has made recently, especially in the series at home against New Zealand and Pakistan where he outshone not only Mendis but also world record-setting wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan.

"Herath is a great player. He's a positive guy who tries his heart out. Such a good spinner had to play third fiddle to Murali and Mendis which has made him hungrier. Against New Zealand and Pakistan he out-bowled Murali and Mendis by a long way. He's a very important player and we hope he can replicate that performance," the Lanka captain said.
Sangakkara said his team had two wicket-keeping options in number one Prasanna Jayawardene and Kaushal Silva and hoped his squad would settle down very soon ahead of the first Test in Ahmedabad commencing on November 16.

"Kaushal Silva, who is understudy to Prasanna Jayawardene, has scored a huge amount of runs in domestic cricket. He gives us an extra option. But we have to settle down very soon into a winning combination before the Ahmedabad Test," he said.

The Lankans are to open the tour with a three-day side game against the Board President"s XI at the MCA's Recreation Centre in the Bandra-Kurla Complex from November 11.

They are scheduled to play the second and third Tests at Kanpur and Mumbai before clashing with the hosts in two T20 Internationals and a best-of-five ODI series.
 
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