Mumbai, July 14: Former England captain Allan Lamb is positive that the host side possesses the advantage going into the forthcoming four-Test series against India that gets begins at Lord's on July 21.
In what's being dubbed the battle for the 'world championship of Test cricket', India will go up against a side that has won five back-to-back Test series, including two consecutive Ashes.
"They are definitely the best two teams in the world right now. It's as big as it gets. It'll be very interesting to see which side goes to the top of the tree," Lamb told a leading Indian tabloid.
The South African-born batsman, who chalked up 14 Test hundreds - including three against India, believes that England have the edge.
"England will start as favourites since they will be playing at home. Also, they have a better seam attack that will be able to exploit the conditions better. Having said that, India have a better side on paper, definitely a longer batting line-up. It could come down to a contest between quality batting sides.
Lamb drew attention to the fact that England's top and middle order are looking as robust as ever. He opined that India will have quite a handful dealing with Cook, Strauss, Trott, Pietersen, Morgan and Bell.
"At the moment, England's top six batting is as good as any in world cricket, whereas India's strength has always been it's batting," said Lamb.
But at the same time, Lamb expects India to hit back hard, especially with Sachin back in the ranks again and a class player yet to score a ton at Lords.
"People in England have been writing about Sachin Tendulkar breaking his Lord's jinx (of scoring a hundred). Well, he won't get a better time to do it, will he? Even if he doesn't get there, he shouldn't get disheartened. A lot of top players over the years haven't got a hundred at Lord's. I don't know why that is!
Lamb expected Graeme Swann to pose a considerable threat in the Tests - despite the knack of India at facing quality spin-bowling.
It was recently reported that India's next two tours to England (in 2014 and 2018) would consist of five Tests each and Lamb is delighted at the news.
"That's wonderful news for Test cricket. I've actually wondered why we don't have enough five-match Test series like in the past. This is a good sign and proves that Test cricket is truly alive," he said.