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Harbhajan fears Murali

Indian spinner fears old veteran over new Sri Lankan star.

Harbhajan: Murali threat

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh insists Muttiah Muralitharan is still the man to fear from Sri Lanka despite the appearance of Ajantha Mendis.

India face Sri Lanka in a three-match Test series with all the talk surrounding Mendis after his own variations bamboozled the Indians during the Asia Cup final - where he recorded figures of 6-13.

Harbhajan returns to the India side after missing the last five games with a ban following his slap of team-mate Sreesanth during the Indian Premier League.

Although Mendis poses a new and very real threat to the Indians, Harbhakjan insists Murali is still the main man for Sri Lanka.

"Muralitharan will pose a bigger challenge," Harbhajan told ESPN. "He will do well in the series and not Mendis.

"You cannot compare Murali and Mendis. Murali has been doing it for years, while Mendis has just started."

Admiration

The Indian off-spinner did admit though that Mendis was a fine bowled in his own right after watching his Asia Cup performance.

"It was a treat to watch Mendis bowl during the Asia Cup final," he added.

"The deliveries with which he got Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma and even RP Singh were outstanding.

"I have seen people doing this with a tennis ball but it is incredible that he managed it with a cricket ball. There is so much to learn from Mendis."

Having missed out on cricket recently due to his ban, Harbhajan is desperate to get back onto the field and is relishing the Sri Lanka Tests.

"I am ready for it. In fact sitting on the sidelines has made me hungrier," he said.

"I am willing to play any role the team wants me to. I committed a mistake and I admitted it.

"That period was really tough for me and I didn't know where I was heading. I think God helped me come out of that. He's been very kind.

"I think we all need to move on from there and look ahead. From now on, people should remember me for all the right reasons and not controversies."