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India better balanced than SL

Updated: Apr 01, 2011, 19:04 PM IST

Senior Test batsman Rahul Dravid said India are the firm favourites to win the 2011 World Cup as they have a better balanced team than their opponents Sri Lanka in the summit clash to be held here at the Wankhede stadium on Saturday.

"India start as favourites as they are a much balanced side. It is not that Sri Lanka are not a good side but India are a better balanced and an all-round side.

"Besides, they are playing at home and would have some 30,000 people cheering for them all the way. That could be a factor too," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

"Sri Lanka is a good team. We can`t take them lightly. But if India play to their ability, they should win," said Dravid, who led India in the previous edition of the mega-event at West Indies in 2007.

The 38-year-old batsman, who has represented India in 339 ODIs and amassed 10,765 runs, said the home team would also benefit from the fact that they had defeated two tough sides -- Australia and Pakistan -- in the quarter-final and semi-final, respectively.

"It is a big thing that India played two tough games in the quarters and the semi-finals. I don`t say England and New Zealand (Sri Lanka`s opponents in their quarter-final and semi-final, respectively) were weak but India played two tough matches and that will hold them in good stead," he said.

On the players who could make an impact in the match, Dravid said Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan`s roles would be important to India`s fortunes.

He also added that Virender Sehwag`s face-off with Sri Lankan speedster Lasith Malinga could prove crucial in tilting the scales in our favour.

"(The battle between) Viru against Malinga would be crucial as Sri Lanka rely on Malinga to get early breakthroughs.

"I think there would be many small key contests throughout the game and whoever wins those contests, would go on to win," said Dravid.

The veteran batsman said it would be a good opportunity for batting maestro Tendulkar to register his 100th international century in front of his home crowd.

"It has worked out phenomenally. He could not get his 100th century in the semis. If he gets his 100th hundred in his hometown at the Wankhede stadium, India would win," Dravid said.