New Zealand's loss in the first Test against Sri Lanka had been a lot closer than the six-wicket defeat suggested and the side had learned plenty about how best to play in local conditions, according to pace bowler Tim Southee.
New Zealand's only warm-up game was affected by torrential rain and the Black Caps went into the Galle Test a little underdone.
Despite that, Southee felt his side had been competitive throughout and it was really only a century stand between captain Dimuth Karunaratne (122) and Lahiru Thirimanne (64) as they chased 268 for victory that separated the two sides.
"We played some good cricket throughout the five days, but Sri Lanka were just better in the back end of the game," said Southee, confirmed as captain for the Twenty20 series after the second Test in Colombo.
"We showed glimpses throughout and the guys learned a lot from playing in these conditions.
"Hopefully, we can put in the hard work and turn out a performance over the next Test match."
Southee and fellow seamer Trent Boult, who will miss the three-match T20 series with regular skipper Kane Williamson, had barely been used on an unresponsive Galle pitch.
The spin trio of Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville and Mitchell Santner combined for 128 of New Zealand's 179 overs.
Southee bowled just seven in the first innings and 12 in the second.
"It's a tough one because you know that you're only going to get a short spell, so you walk a fine line of not trying too much and trying to keep it tight but still trying to take a wicket," the 30-year-old added.
New Zealand's top-six batsmen failed to fire overall. Only Ross Taylor, with 86 in the first innings, and wicketkeeper BJ Watling (77 in the second), posted substantial scores.
The fact the visitors set Sri Lanka a target as due to the tail wagging in their second innings, with Somerville scoring a career-best 40no, helped by Southee (23) and Boult (26).
Patel also scored 14 as the No.11.
The final Test starts on Thursday in Colombo with Santner under most pressure to hold his place. He might be replaced by legspinner Todd Astle or allrounder Colin de Grandhomme.