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
Monday 26 March 2012
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.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
First full-length look is finally here
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer news LIVE: Manchester United to make £37m Mats Hummels bid; Inter plan Yaya Toure move; Shola Ameobi joins Crystal Palace
Australian Open 2015: Novak Djokovic vs Stan Wawrinka match preview
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures