Rather like us, India have had an indifferent time since winning the 2011 World Cup. That was a wonderful achievement and, in the end, they were deserved winners outplaying us in that Mumbai final.
But in the year that followed they also struggled for consistency and consequently slipped down the ICC Rankings in both Tests and ODI's. In one-day cricket they did win home series against England and West Indies, but overseas they lost badly to England and Australia and also did not qualify for the finals in the CB Series and Asia Cup.
Obviously, from our perspective, we are hoping that trend continues in this series. India are a formidable adversary in any conditions, but on their home turf it is for some reason especially hard to beat them.
Conditions in Sri Lanka do not differ so much from Indian venues, but there are still differences and, in general, I think there tends to be a little more assistance for the bowlers. We'll need to exploit this as best we can to try and put their much-famed batting under pressure.
India, though, will be keen to put an indifferent year behind them. Like us they have been introducing some new players for the future and those players have now had some time to gain experience and adjust to international cricket. Their players will also be physically and mentally refreshed after a seven week break. I cannot remember the last time we had a break so long and I think MS (Dhoni) said it's been his longest break for about five years. The break would have been really useful in terms of getting over minor niggles and also in terms of building up core fitness ahead of a busy new season. The down side for them is that there is a chance they might by a little rusty. If they are, we need to capitalise.
From a personal perspective, it is unfortunate that Sachin (Tendulkar) is not touring. Sri Lanka fans would love to watch him batting in this series and, from a players' perspective, you always like playing against the very best.
However, I fully understand and appreciate Sachin's careful management of his workload. He's looked after his body really well in the last three to four years and that has allowed him to maintain his performances late into his 30's.