Colombo - New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori was shocked when he discovered Monday that a used wicket is being prepared for the World Cup semifinal against Sri Lanka.
"They've told us we're playing on the same one as England which is very surprising for us," Vettori said on the eve of the semifinal. "Playing a World Cup semifinal on a used wicket, we would have thought it would be mandatory to prepare a fresh wicket. But obviously not."
Co-host Sri Lanka has the advantage of having played on the wicket in their 10-wicket quarterfinal demolition of England on Saturday.
New Zealand had an upset 49-run win over South Africa at Dhaka to reach the semifinals for the sixth time - and the Kiwis are still aiming for their first win in the final four.
Vettori takes inspiration from New Zealand's run to the Champions Trophy final two years ago.
"Everyone wants to talk about our record of making them (to semifinals) and not going on any further," he said. "In the Champions Trophy we went one step further and made the final against Australia, so we can look on that and hope it's a starting point for us going past the semis."
New Zealand was not rated by many to make it this far at the 2011 the World Cup, particularly after being swept by Bangladesh and India in limited-overs series on the subcontinent last year.
The positives started to emerge in the New Zealand ranks when John Wright was appointed coach in December and the Kiwis lost a close one-day series to Pakistan 3-2.
"Look, John's been fantastic for us," Vettori said. "I've loved working with Wrighty and he's brought a lot of passion to the team. And his knowledge of people over here and grounds has been a tremendous help as well."
"But the players took the blame for those losses (to Bangladesh and India) so I think the players have to take credit for the wins as well."
New Zealand has at least six survivors from the 2007 World Cup - Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, James Franklin, Scott Styris and Ross Taylor, who all featured in an 81-run semifinal defeat to Sri Lanka in Jamaica.
And Vettori expects another tough semifinal as Sri Lanka will be playing in front of its home crowd.
Mahela Jayawardene scored 115 and Upul Tharanga scored 73 in the semifinal in the 2007 edition and both batsmen are in prolific form in this tournament, too.
Tharanga has scored two centuries while Jayawardene smashed the fastest World Cup century for Sri Lanka when he made 100 off 80 balls against Canada in the first group match.
New Zealand beat South Africa in the quarterfinals but it also had heavy losses to Sri Lanka and Australia in the group stage.
"Whenever we've won well we've backed it up with a poor performance," Vettori said. "We've had our up performance (against South Africa) so we've got to make sure we we've got another one in the bag because we know how strong Sri Lanka can be in their home conditions."
Sri Lanka used all its three spinners in the quarterfinal against England and, with the same wicket to be used, Vettori said he was tempted but not entirely sure about using another spinner.
New Zealand has flown in fast bowler Andy McKay in place of injured pacemen Kyle Mills and also has an option of playing seamer Daryl Tuffey.
Sri Lankans "grew up playing spin," Vettori said. "So for us we'll have a good long hard look at McKay and Tuffey and see if they're a good option to come in instead of the third spinner."
Vettori will be stepping down from the ODI captaincy after the World Cup and said he was lucky to lead the side for four years.
"I'll be 32 so I think it's time for someone new to come in," he said. "After four years, some fresh ideas and a different voice.
"I wanted to give as much as I could in that time, and then whoever the next man is, stick around and support them as much as I can."