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

View From The Middle: Our aim is to become a side who can regularly win in Asia; to do so here would be massive

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. Of course, we're more used to the English weather but, given the choice, I would always rather be in the sunshine than the cold.

That said, Sri Lanka is as hot as it gets on the cricketing circuit. Today is the first scheduled day of our Test match here in Galle, and the temperature was expected to reach 32C – and with humidity it can feel much hotter than that out in the middle.

Seven of us have been here since the start of March, with the rest of the squad arriving about a week later, and we've all been working very hard to acclimatise.

It will be hard work for the bowlers and, if batsmen want to score hundreds, they will have to be very fit. We've trained hard physically, and 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, trying to keep your body temperature down, using ice towels and changing your gloves regularly.

By the time you read this, the Test will probably be starting to take shape, and I'm approaching this series hoping for a far happier time than I had against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, where I had a top score of 29 from six innings. Things didn't really go to plan in the two warm-up matches here, either, but I have to take encouragement from my performances on our last tour of Sri Lanka at the end of 2007.

Even though we lost the three-match series 1-0, I finished it as our second-highest run scorer with 261 runs at an average of 43.5. I scored three fifties in the series, so hopefully I can take confidence from those memories in these two Tests.

I've been training and doing everything to the standard I had during the previous 18 months, when runs were coming nicely. At the minute, it's not quite worked like that, but that's the game.

The goal is to regain form in Sri Lanka and help England win here, something English sides rarely manage to do in the subcontinent. Our aim is to become a side who can win regularly in Asia, and to do so here would be a massive achievement.

I was part of the one-day squad who won the five-match series here in 2007 before the Test leg of the tour, and I regard it as one of the best achievements of my career. We know we haven't got it right in these conditions so far, and we're aware that if we want to stay at No 1 in the world we have to be able to come and dominate here. But it's not a short-term thing. Our coach, Andy Flower, wants to build a long-term plan to ensure that England teams in the future all play better here.

We have an environment where everyone is keen to learn and improve, and we've been working on certain details, such as the need to play in front of your pad against the spinners to try to counteract the dangers of the Decision Review System.

It is a shame, though, that there are only two Tests in this series. You like to get stuck into a long series and against a class side like Sri Lanka you'd like it to be a minimum of three Tests. But two Tests it is, and let's try to make the most of them.

News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Arts and Entertainment
film
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee