Indian batsmen have finally unlocked the Ajantha Mendis code, says opener Gautam Gambhir, while revealing that the trick lies in watching the mystery spinner's fingers at the time of delivery.
After wrecking the line-up in the opening Test and in the first innings of the ongoing second Test, Mendis finally came in for some attack in the second innings and Gambhir said the perfect way to deal with him was watching his fingers.
"I think it is important to pick him from his fingers because most of the variations which he does, he does from his fingers and it is important to pick him from his fingers. So far it is working well," Gambhir said.
"I hope it continues to be in this series...It is difficult because they (Mendis and Muttiah Muraltharan) have got lot of variations in their armoury. You have to react to what they throw at you. That is the best way to play against them. We just cannot be pre-determined against them," he added.
Gambhir said the batsmen had done their job well for the visitors by taking a formidable second-innings lead of 237 and the onus was now on the bowlers to win the match and square the series.
"So far in the Test match we have really played well and I think it is for the bowlers to turn the series around.
"It is going to be very difficult for the opposition if we can set anything more than 350 we can really set the game for us. They have got a good quality attack in Murali and Mendis. It is a good challenge for us," Gambhir said after the end of third day's play.
Gambhir said it would be tough for the hosts to chase a 350-plus score on the deteriorating track.
"I think anything above 350 is going to be a good target because the wicket is only going to deteriorate from here. It is not going to be a very good batting track and specially when Harbhajan and Kumble in our armoury."
The left-hander from Delhi also dismissed remarks that he protected former skipper Rahul Dravid from facing spinners initially.
"I think Rahul Dravid is a quality player. I don't think I need to shield him. He has got more than 10,000 runs. They were bowling really well and applying a lot of pressure on us. But there was never a conscious effort of shielding him at all," he said.
Gambhir also did not hide his disappoint of missing out on his maiden century of the series.
"The ball drifted a bit. I did not expect the ball to drift that much. I think I should have got a 100 and I am a bit disappointed."