Sri Lanka v England 2011-12 March 23, 2012

Sri Lanka heat 'unbelievable' - Pietersen


Touring Sri Lanka no longer comes with the challenge of facing Muttiah Muralitharan, but while the opposition attack has changed the climate hasn't. Kevin Pietersen rarely deals in half measures so it wasn't surprising to hear him describe the heat England will face in the Test series as "unbelievable" and a bigger task than combating Sri Lanka's bowling attack.

England have sweated through two warm-up matches in Colombo and are now in Galle ahead of the first Test, which starts on Monday, but the change in location won't bring much relief. During England's second warm-up match against a Sri Lanka Development XI the mercury hit the mid-30s* in the middle and at drinks breaks batsmen, including Pietersen, used icepacks on their heads. Matt Prior even resorted to keeping without pads. On the whole, though, the England squad appear to be adjusting - another hallmark of their outstanding fitness levels - with most of the batsmen playing lengthy innings and the bowlers all getting overs in their legs.

However, performing in tour matches is one thing. England's batsmen need to make up for their woeful series against Pakistan in the UAE where Alastair Cook's 94 in Abu Dhabi was the highest score; where they failed to chase 145 and then couldn't build a match-winning lead after bowling out Pakistan for 99 in the final Test. Still, while respecting the opposition, it wasn't the Sri Lanka bowlers preoccupying Pietersen's mind.

"They've got a left-arm spinner, Rangana Herath, who bowls wicket to wicket and you saw against Pakistan what a guy like Abdur Rehman did to us," Pietersen said. "Left-arm spin is a huge part of the game now and it's not going to be easy at all. But it's not really the spinners out here, it's the heat. I think that will be the biggest threat to us."

Overcoming tough conditions is why touring is such a huge challenge. For all that England's players are finding it hard work now, Sri Lanka didn't have much fun rugged up against the cold at Cardiff or Lord's in May - although the demands of playing in higher temperatures are probably tougher, as there's only so much you can do to cool down.

"It's unbelievable, make no bones about that, but it's something we have to try and get over as quickly as possible," Pietersen said. "I'm trying to just not do too much and to conserve a lot of energy, not run around like a crazy fool like you do in England or Australia or South Africa, where you can afford to do that.

"It's something we have to try and control. On days off we need to get out, swim in the sea, spend some time in the sun and let your body get used to it. If you only spend time in the dressing room or in the ground and you try and take conditions in like that it's not going to work. You need to get out as much as you can."

Pietersen could find himself with more to keep him busy in the field than normal, if some overs of his under-used offspin are required. Ravi Bopara's side strain means he's unlikely to bowl during the series but remains the favourite to bat at No. 6 ahead of Samit Patel and Pietersen played down any problems in balancing the team.

"I'm not sure it's a big setback, because he's [Bopara] hardly going to take you seven wickets in a Test match," he said. "He might bowl you four overs. I can bowl those overs, Jonathan Trott can bowl those four overs."

England's frontline bowlers will hope Pietersen can supply a few more than four overs.

Edited by Alan Gardner

*21.30 GMT: The temperature was changed from mid-40s to mid-30s

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on March 26, 2012, 0:55 GMT

    Hey Theekshana Perera, I have been to Sri Lanka many times. Except for the hills in the centre of the Island. Sri Lanka is a really hot place. Espcecially Colombo, which has high humdity combine that with 30 degrees. Its not fun. Sri Lanka is great however if you are by a swimming pool or the beach close to the water. Because other than that Sri Lanka generally has glorious sun shining weather all year round intermingled with the inevitable monsoonal rains. Perfect place to enjoy and play cricket on the beach or the street. Not so much fun if your from England playing in a cricket stadium. With high heat and humidity, against a top side like Sri lanka. So it is not excuse. Petersen has a point. However if they do lose the test series I hope they don't bring up the heat as an issue and instead right congratulate Sri Lanka.In the past England's captain has been shown to be that kind of person.I've been to Sri Lanka Theekshana it is however a great place to get away from a British winter.

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    The maximum temperature in Colombo in April rarely goes above 33 degrees Celsius, so it is not the heat that gets you but the humidity. It makes you sticky.Sweating ironically helps people to cool down! High humidity and sweating protects ones skin from sunburn and cracking. In Western Australia, in summer for example the temperature can go up to 38 or even 40 degrees in some days but the low humidity does not necessarily make you sticky, but your skin begins to crack and get sun burnt.Dry heat can get you unawares. So when you are in Colombo, be thankful for small mercies like high humidity!

  • Nadeem on March 25, 2012, 5:56 GMT

    Heat is going to test english players more than srilankan team here. It's very hard to save #1 position in test cricket. England needs to learn this lesson from Sri lanka. Get ready for cramps and dehydration.

    Best of luck to england in Sri lanka i don't know how are they going to survive these two test matches. 10 days under sun. Wo ho.

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    ha haaa kps making excuses even before the match.... the next excuse gonna be the pitches are too dry... common dude... man up have you ever heard Sri Lankan Cricketers complained about weather or your green carpets.. we only lost one session n that cost us the match unlike other countries we didn't loose 4-0 . So deal with it Mr. Everyone knows you r scared of left arm spinners no need to make it publish and dont forget we got left arm fast bowlers to rock ur captain too... Lol

  • John on March 24, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    @CricketPissek on (March 24 2012, 08:51 AM GMT) That's because there weren't freezing temperatures in England during April and May . KP is getting on with it , he's just saying how hot it is. I do find it funny that when one of our players mentions something about weather conditions or something in light conversation it means they are complaining. It also good to know that these fans know for a fact that none of the overseas players have ever commented on the English weather conditions. KP gets asked about the weather - what should he say? Also @randikaayya cricket being played in blizzards in England - really - when?

  • Robert on March 24, 2012, 19:37 GMT

    Galle is 6 degrees north of the Equator, Colombo is seven , you'd think visiting teams would have clocked that ...

  • Robert on March 24, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    The heat is not excessive for Sri, and it's what we all live with all year round. Those are the conditions - most national teams shiver and freeze in normal English 'summer' conditions. You take what you get and do the best you can.

  • Randika on March 24, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    So KP is now totally English body and soul. So much so that he forgot the weather back in his native Durban :) BTW the Sri Lankans never complained having to play cricket in blizzards in England. There were days of 10C in teh tests in early May. Sri Lanka has two HOT months march and June as a consequence of being just north of the equator. and since we are an island nation the humidity reaches tipping point too. Just DEAL WITH IT, without giving excuses in advance

  • Usman on March 24, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    KP is going to destroy the Lankan attack...

  • Dru on March 24, 2012, 16:27 GMT

    Excuses in advance I see! Ever heard the SL's complaining about the cold? Next will be the pitches. The fact is Eng should be able to beat SL without too much trouble - on paper anyway! Just like Pakistan.

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