It’s going to be a tough series: Tim Southee on hot, humid Sri Lanka conditions
Tim Southee cools off during a practice session in Colombo. (AFP Image)

Tim Southee believes adapting to conditions in Sri Lanka will hold key for New Zealand in the two-match Test series. New Zealand will play a three-day warm-up game against the Sri Lanka Board President XI from August 8 before taking on the national team in the first Test from August 14 in Colombo.

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“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,” Southee told IANS.

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The two teams have not played Tests in Sri Lanka since 2012, when New Zealand won the second Test at the P. Sara Oval to draw the series following a heavy defeat in Galle. Southee reckons it will be a challenging series for New Zealand since most touring sides have found it hard to beat teams in the sub-continent.

“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 out the difference in conditions between Sri Lanka and UAE, where New Zealand last played and defeated Pakistan 2-1 in December last year.

New Zealand are coming off a heart-wrenching World Cup final, where they lost to England in one of the most epic ODIs at Lord’s on July 14. They lost on boundary count after both the regulation overs and the subsequent Super Over ended in a tie. Southee said the group is still trying to coming to terms with the loss, although the players are mighty proud of the way they performed in the showpiece tournament.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The two-match series 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.”