When you're doing well in Sri Lanka, make sure you ride that wave for as long as possible. This, according to wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling, is where New Zealand have the most to improve, following their loss in Galle.

Essentially the thinking is this. In conditions as bowler-friendly as those in Sri Lanka often are, wickets will almost always fall in heaps. In between those inevitable collapses though, make sure the partnerships that do get started prosper long enough to hurt the opposition.

What Watling says is not without sense. The biggest partnership in the match in Galle was Sri Lanka's opening stand of 161 in the second innings. And that was the partnership that ultimately turned a closely contested Test emphatically in Sri Lanka's favour.

"We just lost some key phases of that game," Watling said. "We know it's tough to play in subcontinent conditions. Things can take a while to happen, but then all of a sudden you get those bang-bang wickets. It's the same when we're batting - you can lose wickets in clumps.

"For me it's about taking it that little bit deeper. We had a few good starts in that first innings, and we probably should have scored 350 on that surface. We just let Sri Lanka back in the game through those periods. We did that throughout the Test match, which cost us. So those are the sorts of things we'll be looking to rectify.

"We had a few good starts in that first innings, and we probably should have scored 350 on that surface"

"We have to give a lot of credit to Sri Lanka's batsmen - especially that opening partnership. They took it deep enough to win that Test match. Hopefully in this Test we can look to make some more inroads through that top order and hopefully put that middle order under more pressure."

Although much has changed, for both New Zealand and Sri Lanka, since these teams last met at the P Sara Oval, the visitors will, at least, have several players who have excelled at the venue. Back in 2012, they had also been reeling from a big defeat in Galle, but got first-innings centuries from Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson, whose 262-run partnership provided New Zealand an excellent platform.

The fast bowlers then went to work and dismissed a Sri Lanka top order featuring Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera for less than 250, twice. Tim Southee took eight wickets in that match, including five in the first innings. Trent Boult took seven.

"We have some fond memories from last time, and we've talked about that game a little bit," Watling said. "The boys like to talk about their wickets and there were few stunning catches from memory as well. Having good memories is always good, but that's a long time ago now. It's completely different teams and situations. We need to be switched on."