When we played against England, we kept attacking them too much: Karunaratne

Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne believes his team now has a better understanding of Test cricket at home, having gleaned vital lessons from the shocking 3-0 defeat to England late last year.

Sri Lanka kickstart their ICC World Test Championship campaign against New Zealand on Wednesday (August 14), having recorded a historic series victory in South Africa in their last Test assignment. But it is the defeat to England that metaphorically opened Sri Lanka's eyes to some of the finer nuances of the game.

"When we played against England, we kept attacking them too much with our bowlers, and we couldn't stop the runs. But we have that experience with (the loss against) England now, and we have some new plans," Karunaratne said on the eve of the first Test in Galle.

"In these conditions, rather than giving away a lot of runs, we need to dry them up. Even though we lost the toss in all three of those games, we still had a good chance, and I think this is where we made the mistake. If their batsmen attack us, we need to know how to deal with that," he explained.

"We did our basics right in South Africa and that's the reason why we won. We are in a good position now and we are excited to play tomorrow. What I have done is to give freedom to all players and they have gone onto express themselves with their performances," he said.

While Karuranatne remained tight-lipped about the team combination for the first Test amidst the return of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, but opined the Galle wicket would be good for batting despite its usual support for the spinners.

"Angelo and Dinesh Chandimal are in this squad now, so there might be a few changes to the top order that played in South Africa. It's different conditions as well here. We have to pick the best batsmen to counter spin.

"I think it will be a good wicket for the batsmen, but because we haven't been able to see the pitch properly over the last few days, we can only make those decisions about selection tomorrow morning," he revealed.