West Indies' seamers bring more wickets and experience to this series than their counterparts but will still have to deliver brief, intense spells to be successful in Sri Lanka, bowling coach Curtly Ambrose has said.
Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach have played over 30 Tests and each have at least 120 wickets each, where Sri Lanka's most successful seamer, Dhammika Prasad, has 66 scalps. But though Sri Lankan surfaces have become friendlier for seamers in the past two years, the climate still presents a challenge, Ambrose said.
"I think in these conditions which are very, very hot, it's going to be important to bowl shorter spells," he said. "Bowling eight, nine or 10 overs in a spell is going to be too much for them. The skipper will have to monitor the fast bowlers a bit better, and they'd bowl three or four over spells, where they can really give their 100 per cent. That way at the end of the day they are going to have some energy to produce. Hydration is going to be important as well. You can't wait till you're tired or dehydrated to put in the fluids."
Ambrose said that with the quicks' energy levels expected to dive through the day, taking wickets with their new-ball spells would be crucial. He was however pleased with the seamers' outing in Colombo, where he believed they had adjusted well to the pace of Sri Lanka's surfaces. Roach, Taylor and Jason Holder claimed two wickets apiece in that match.
"The pitches, for me, have something for the fast bowlers. It's not a quick pitch but there's something for the quicks. What impressed me in that practice game was that they found the right length to bowl. We don't have to tell them what length to bowl."
Holder, who will lead West Indies in his ninth Test match, said his seamers could not just rely on pace and bounce on Sri Lanka's surfaces. The pitch at Galle, in particular, can play slow and low.
"We have a bit of pace in our attack but skill comes into play in these conditions," Holder said. "If the pitches are pretty batting friendly, and pace may not rattle many international batsmen. You have to be skillful as well, and Jerome has adapted to that in the last few series."
There have been instances of seamers gleaning substantial conventional and reverse swing at the venue. Notably, Dale Steyn helped South Africa win a match at the ground thanks largely to two impressive spells with the old ball. Holder said reverse swing was a skill West Indies had focused on as well.
"In the past we spoken a lot about revere swing its something we have been technically been doing pretty well - we are working really well with the coaching staff," Holder said. "We'll try to get as much reverse swing as we possibly can, depending on the conditions. Having said that our boys are skilled enough to adapt."
His team had lost five wickets to the offspin of Suraj Randiv in the three-day warm-up match, but Holder believed his batsmen would be effective against Sri Lanka's slow bowlers.
"We're not too startled by spin. Certain batsmen didn't spend much time in the middle as they wanted in the practice match, but speaking to them, and the way they been moving in the last few days, they look fairly confident."