Ian Bell: Some like it hot – and you can count me among them


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The Independent Online

It seems everyone has been talking about how difficult it will be to play in such extreme heat here in Sri Lanka, but let's get one thing clear: I'd rather be playing in these conditions than in England in early April. That said, Sri Lanka is as hot as it gets on the cricketing circuit. Today is the first scheduled day of the Test in Galle, and the temperature was expected to reach 32C – and with humidity it can feel much hotter than that.

It will be hard work for the bowlers and, if batsmen want to score hundreds, they will have to be very fit. Some of the guys tried to lose a bit of weight before the series began, just so they don't heat up as quickly. When you're batting it's about hydration, using ice towels and changing your gloves regularly.

I'm approaching this series hoping for a far happier time than I had against Pakistan, when I had a top score of 29. I have to take encouragement from my performances on our last tour of Sri Lanka in 2007. Even though England lost the series 1-0, I finished with 261 runs at 43.5.

Our aim is to become a side who can win regularly in Asia. We know we haven't got it right in these conditions, and if we want to stay at No 1 in the world we have to dominate here. We have an environment where we are all keen to improve, and we've worked on playing in front of your pad against the spinners to try to counteract the dangers of the Decision Review System.

It's a shame, though, that there are only two Tests in this series. Against a side like Sri Lanka you'd like it to be three at least. But two it is – let's try to make the most of them.