London: Sri Lanka's top batsman Kumar Sangakkara has rated England as a "very good" Test side and said the upcoming series between the two sides will be a close contest.
Sangakkara, who joined the squad after captaining the Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League, said the toughest challenge for them would be to face England's "disciplined" bowling attack. The first of the three-match Test series starts at Cardiff on Thursday.
"As a Test side, England are very, very good," Sangakkara was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
"What I noticed most in the Ashes was their discipline, the mechanical efficiency in the bowling department.
They didn't have out-and-out pace. What they did have was a lot of control and old-fashioned hit-your-lines, hit-your-lengths bowling. That is going to be the biggest challenge for us."
The stylish left-hander, however, said they are not overawed by the might of the English and will look to exploit the weaknesses of the hosts.
"As a batting unit also they are very good. But you always fancy that you can break through, especially with early wickets. You need to get into that middle and lower order," he said.
When asked about who he thinks are the toughest opponents in Tests, Sangakkara said: "Australia and England. They are just competitive. Australia may have chinks in the armour, but they have that hate-losing attitude that pushes them to do something special. It took a very special effort from England to put the Ashes beyond them."
Sri Lanka, at fourth position, are ranked a place lower than England in the rankings while India maintain the top spot.