India can handle Mendis - Dravid

Rahul Dravid is confident India can handle the threat posed by "mystery spinner" Ajantha Mendis on the tour of Sri Lanka next month. Mendis tormented India's batsmen in 2008, taking 26 wickets in what was his debut series, as the home side emerged 2-1 winners over three Tests. Dravid said India had figured out Mendis over the last two years and should be able to play him well. "He is still a good bowler," he told reporters. "He was completely new to us when we toured Sri Lanka last time. He got the measure our team last time, there is no doubt about it. He played a major role in the series. But hopefully, we have learnt our lesson. "I think we played him pretty well when he came to India. We learnt how to tackle him. Having said that international bowlers keep on improving, international bowlers come up with new tricks every time. But hopefully we will have the answers [to] whatever Mendis throws at us this time." Mendis played just one Test on Sri Lanka's tour of India last year, taking two wickets while conceding 162 runs. The last time Dravid played international cricket was in January, when he scored an unbeaten century against Bangladesh in the second of two Tests. Injury ruled him out the subsequent series against South Africa, but he was part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team that finished third in the IPL. He said he needed a little time to get back into the rhythm of Test cricket. "Sometimes, it is little bit of challenge to return to Test cricket after a long break but there is preparation time in Sri Lanka. I am looking forward to some match practice before the series." However, Dravid said the break from cricket was good for him and he has been training hard over the last six weeks to get ready for the tour. He predicted a close contest between two rivals who have seen a lot of each other in recent times. "Sri Lanka is a very formidable team and they play tough cricket at home. In the last two times we travelled there, we won a Test match but did not win the series. It is a positive sign to win a Test there but it is now important for us to keep that performance going right throughout the upcoming series. "It is going to be a challenge but we have got a good team. We have got bowlers who are capable of taking 20 wickets, which is important to win a Test. If we can put runs on the board, hopefully we will have a good series." Galle will host the first Test, which kicks off on July 18, while the next two matches will be held in Colombo, at the SSC and the P Sara Oval. The second and third Tests are between July 26 and 30 and August 3 and 7 respectively. Source:Cricket News Image Source:Cricinfo