New Zealand opener Tom Latham stressed on "patience" several times two days before the start of their two-Test series against Zimbabwe, in Bulawayo. Latham identified that adjusting to the sluggish surfaces in Zimbabwe and grinding the attack would be crucial to New Zealand's success in the series.
"The conditions are low and slow compared to what we have back home and we need to adjust to it...It is about [being] patient and playing the long game," Latham said. "It is more about the patience side of things, you are not going to go and blast quick runs over here. So, it's about the patience game, and wear the bowlers down, and bat for a day or four sessions, and that is probably the biggest thing for the whole batting group."
The first Test will be New Zealand's first since February 2016, but Latham said that the side drew confidence from the warm-up match against Zimbabwe A in Harare, where the visitors surged to a 259-run victory.
Prior to that, the team spent time at a training camp organised by former New Zealand player Kruger van Wyk at the University of Pretoria's High Performance Centre, the home to CSA's National Academy.
"It was a good three days for the whole group," Latham said. "Everyone spent a little bit time at the crease and got enough overs under their belt to put them in good stead for the Test match coming up.
"That's the beauty of coming over nice and early. We have not played a Test for a while and it is about getting used to the long form and being patient with all facets of the game. Certainly a beneficial couple of weeks for us, and I know the boys are looking forward to the first Test."
Latham was wary of Zimbabwe's ability to perform better in home conditions, which New Zealand encountered when Zimbabwe ran down 304 in the first ODI in Harare last year.
"Zimbabwe are certainly very good in their home conditions and they showed it last year in the one-day series we had over here last year," he said.
Latham also said he was looking forward to Kane Williamson's first Test series as full-fledged captain.
"He [Kane Williamson] is a very switched-on guy and certainly leads from the front with his batting. He has had enough experience throughout his career and I'm sure he is going to do a fantastic job."