COLOMBO: New Zealand pacer Tim Southee believes that adapting to conditions in Sri Lanka will hold the key for the Kiwis in the upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka in the Island Nation. New Zealand will play a three-day warm-up game against the Sri Lanka Board President XI from August 8 before taking on Sri Lanka in the first Test from August 14 in Colombo.
Speaking to IANS, Southee said: "We have some guys who were on the last tour to Sri Lanka and we had some success here. So, it's nice to have that experience. But we know that the conditions have changed and we need to adapt to that as quickly as we can."
The two teams have not played Tests in Sri Lanka since 2012, when New Zealand won the second Test (also at the P. Sara Oval) to draw the series following a heavy defeat in Galle.
"It's going to be a tough series in this part of the world. The sub-continent is always a tough place to come, purely because the conditions are quite different from that we are used to. Here (in Sri Lanka), the conditions are different from that of UAE. You get the damp heat and a lot more sweat than UAE. So, we are just acclimatizing to it," said Southee pointing at the difference in conditions between Sri Lanka and UAE, where the Black Caps last played in the subcontinent and defeated Pakistan in the Test series.
New Zealand are coming fresh from their heart-wrenching World Cup debacle where they lost to England in one of the most epic ODI encounters in the final at Lord's on July 14. They lost to hosts on count of boundary after both the regulation overs and the subsequent Super Over ended in a tie.
Southee feels that the group is still trying to come to terms with the loss, however, they are proud of the way they fared in the showpiece event.
"There are a few guys here who were part of the World Cup. Our focus was there at the ODI format for quite some time and we now have to shift it to Test cricket. There are still conversations about what happened in England and also about what we were able to achieve as a group in those eight weeks," said Southee.
"There's a lot of frustration and other emotions that come to mind. But when we dig deep, we are very proud of the way we represented New Zealand," he added.
The two-match series, which will be broadcast on Sony ESPN, will see the two teams beginning their campaign in the ICC World Test Championship.
Southee believes the WTC will add further excitement to Test cricket as it will bring more context to bilateral series.
"World Test Championship is something new and exciting. There are many guys who enjoy playing Test cricket. And so, with the added edge of WTC, Test cricket becomes all more exciting," said Southee.
"It will be nice to go back to Lord's in a couple of years and play the finals."