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Rediff.com  » Sports » India deserve to be number one: Stuart Law

India deserve to be number one: Stuart Law

December 05, 2009 22:12 IST

Harbhajan Singh and VVS LaxmanSri Lanka's assistant coach Stuart Law on Saturday described India as cricket's "powerhouse" and said they deserve the number one tag in Test format.

The top rank is beckoning India, as they are just four wickets away from winning the series against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, which will catapult them to the top of the ranking chart.

"They are a powerhouse and deserve to be number one. Even Australia won a series in India only after a long time. Sri Lanka can win a Test in India in future but winning a series is a tough ask. Pitches here are totally different to anywhere and others have to rise to the occasion. It's a challenge to face India in their backyard," he said.

Law said India were a complete package with good batsmen and bowlers in their team.

"You have a high quality cricket team. They have two swing bowlers who can swing it conventionally and reverse it too. Harbhajan Singh is a pretty good bowler. (Pragyan) Ojha is only two Tests old," he said.

Only rival skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who is unbeaten on 133, is standing between India and a 2-0 series win and Law acknowldged the enormous talent his skipper possesses.

"Sangakkara showed today why he's the best player in the world currently. I'm really proud of him today for having come out and played that innings under immense pressure with so many things to think about in the middle.

"He's a tough character and has been scoring plenty of runs in Test cricket recently. Today he showed what a classy cricketer he is," he gushed.

Law said the climax could have been interesting had they restricted India's first innings and also defended their decision to bat first.

"We came here full of confidence, full of aggression, wanting to make a statement and the best way to do that is to win the toss, bat first, put a total on the board. Yes, we didn't make as many as we could through whatever factors there was. It may have flattened out on day two and three.

"But Virender Sehwag can play that type of innings on a seaming minefield. I don't think we made the wrong decision. Had we had let only a 150-200 lead, the game would be set up beautifully for a great finish tomorrow. (It) still is."

Sri Lanka made only 393 to which India replied with a huge 726 for nine declared that put them in the driver's seat.

The Australian said his sympathies were with his bowlers who were mauled by Sehwag during his scintillating innings of 293 that helped India amass a record 726 for nine.

"They have to open the bowling against a guy like Sehwag who can be intimidating and can get a 200 even on a bad day. You have to sympathise with them (Lanka bowlers). When Sehwag gets going he cannot be stopped. Even South Africa suffered at his hands (in Chennai when he scored 319)," he said.

Law felt that the wrong decision against Dilshan in the first innings hurt Sri Lanka more than the dubious decision in the second essay.

"We have the luxury of technology sitting in the dressing room. Things would have been different not today but probably on the first day (over Dilshan). (But) full credit to India, they were all over us at different points. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror," he said.

He also rued the absence of Thilan Tushara who had to leave for home after picking up an injury in the run-up to the series at Ahmedabad.

"It's a shame that Thilan Thushara had to go home. He is a big left-arm fast bowler. Not saying he would have made the difference but he would have added a bit of potency to our attack. I think at times we lacked that extra bit of pace and bounce," he said.

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