Ross Taylor 'excited' to get New Zealand's World Test Championship campaign started

Ross Taylor thinks pace could play as much a role for New Zealand as spin in Sri Lanka Getty Images

One month on from that incredible World Cup final and all the agony it sparked in them, New Zealand will take on Sri Lanka in a Test match in Galle. The encounter is the sole focus now, senior batsman Ross Taylor has said, especially since it marks the start of their run in an "exciting" new competition: the World Test Championship (WTC).

"I'm excited," Taylor said, according to stuff.co.nz. "The Test Championship is a new concept. Names and numbers on your backs, but Tests need something different and I believe this can give it a bit of a kick-start and liven it up."

What about the World Cup final then? "Time's a bit of a healer, and we've got new personnel who didn't play in the final," Taylor said.

The Galle Test is one of two New Zealand play against Sri Lanka, with 60 WTC points on offer each. Sri Lanka at home is often a challenging proposition, but New Zealand are the No. 2-ranked team in Test cricket, behind only India in the rankings, and are coming off five consecutive series victories in the longest format. Besides, they have the P Sara Oval Test of 2012 to guide them along.

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"Going over to Sri Lanka and playing Test cricket... it's a pretty hard place to play, but we've had success in the past," Taylor said. "Obviously spin is going to play a bit part. We've picked four spinners [legspinner Todd Astle, offspinner William Somerville, and left-armers Ajaz Patel and Mitchell Santner] but the team is a very settled line-up. And don't underestimate how pace plays a part.

"We won there in 2012, and it was pace that did the majority of the damage. We've just got to assess the conditions once we get over there."

At the P Sara Oval in 2012, New Zealand won by 167 runs, with their first-choice pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee claiming 15 of the 19 Sri Lanka wickets to fall to bowlers in the game. Taylor was Player of the Match, though, for his first-innings 142 and second-innings 74.

This time, Taylor and New Zealand will have a new batting coach working with them. Former Test opener Peter Fulton is set for his first series in the role. "[Playing spin in Sri Lanka] is something we've been preparing a lot for," Taylor said. "And Peter Fulton, we're looking forward to working with him and picking his brains and getting some new ideas."