As long as Test series' of two matches only remain the norm there will be grounds for dissatisfaction with inconclusive results like those in the just-completed New Zealand-Sri Lanka series.

It was not surprising that New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming should complain about the brevity of his side's series with Sri Lanka. The series is over before it has really started.

Neither side can claim an advantage and while a drawn series may have suited New Zealand as an advance on its points in the International Cricket Council Test Championship, it has done little else.

Because countries have so many demands on them nowadays, it is all too easy to slip into the two Tests in a series syndrome. It gets arranged that way for one tour, and is then reciprocated on the return visit, and suddenly the cycle becomes hard to break.

But it is not only the players who are being caught short in this situation. The public suffer as well, and eventually the game suffers.

It does have to be a serious concern that a Test match has had to make way for a one-day tri-series, between three teams who six weeks ago were playing in a World Cup.

In order to get maximum value out of the one-day package, would it not be wise to have a moratorium on One-Day Internationals for six months after a World Cup, or at least a reduction in the number of games played? It mightn't be a bad idea to have a minimum number of games in the six months beforehand as well.

It is interesting that a partner international body with cricket, the International Rugby Board has decided that its bubble gum-type test programme of the last seven or eight years has lost its attraction and there is a plan to return to more traditional touring events of longer duration.

There is no time for players to develop on cricket tours nowadays, and the absence of matches against selection XIs or provincial XIs has almost become a rarity.

For players on tour, these matches are vital, something that Lou Vincent and Richard Jones could attest as they end the Test tour of Sri Lanka not having played an official match between them.

If the claims that Test cricket standards are at a low ebb, and there is not a lot of reason to refute those claims, then the lack of time to adapt to foreign conditions on tours must be a factor. That and the continual demands of one-day cricket.

What the Sri Lankan tour has done for New Zealand is confirm the improved batting approach of its captain Fleming, and demonstrated the marvellous consistency that is Mark Richardson at the top of the order. But he is in need of another century before much longer in order to relieve himself of a poor conversion record.

Yet the two batsmen showed that conquering the demands of concentration required in all Test cricket, where occupancy can be just as important as scoring, is still possible. It may be an area of decline but, as Sri Lankan captain Hashan Tillakaratne showed, it is an essential element of survival in his country.

Such is the haste with which much modern Test cricket is played, there can be a reluctance to be regarded as a stodgy, defensive player. But the concentration skills required in that role are still as valuable as they ever have been.

And with a tour to India the next on New Zealand's schedule, concentration aplenty will be the key.

With that tour in mind, the sight of Paul Wiseman getting plenty of overs under his belt in the series was a bonus. Admittedly, the conditions were not ideal for either he or Daniel Vettori but the absence of a reliable back-up for Vettori has been a concern.

The sight of Wiseman getting back into the international groove was encouraging and hopefully the start of a more consistent phase of his career. And the greater fight he showed with the bat also has to be a bonus.

Scott Styris demonstrated his readiness for greater consideration, Jacob Oram clearly took more steps in cementing his right to an assured place in the Test side while Daryl Tuffey's exposure to more foreign conditions will not have harmed his development either.

Fast bowler Shane Bond has been exposed to the harshness that is Test cricket in the humidity of Sri Lanka, and that should be a bonus to him during the Indian tour following his exertions in the English county championship.

In reality the Test side of the tour has not answered any of the ongoing problems in New Zealand's resource base and the shortness of the tour did nothing to help that.

A revisiting of the selection and coaching of the New Zealand will occur at the completion of the tour and it will be interesting to see how the next panel views the side to be taken to India and how it can resolve the issues facing the side.