Captain Ross Taylor believes New Zealand can end a forgettable year on a high with a rare away Test series success against Sri Lanka.
The Black Caps have endured a miserable 12 months during which they have lost their past three Test series, crashed out of the World Twenty20 at the Super Eight stage and won just four of 14 one-day internationals.
They have only ever won one Test series on Sri Lankan soil - almost 30 years ago - and Taylor said ahead of the two-match series: "We've got an opportunity to create some history. I think the way we played the last Test in India, the way we attacked spin, that's going to be crucial in this next match. We have to be positive."
He added: "Obviously a lot of teams think that's a weakness of ours and if we show that's a strength of ours and play positive and aggressive cricket to their spinners, that bodes well for our batsmen.
"Hopefully we can string a few more partnerships together and instead of scoring 300-350, push that out to 400 and put pressure on the opposition."
New Zealand are without main spin option Daniel Vettori, after he succumbed to an Achilles problem, meaning they will turn to understudy Jeetan Patel and their medium-pace bowlers.
"The new ball will be crucial - putting the ball in the right area and asking questions," Taylor said. "England were just out here recently and their seamers had a lot of success. It's not all about spin in this country."
Sri Lanka are nonetheless likely to test the tourists with spin after naming three slow bowlers in their squad.
The hosts have won just one of their past five home Test series since New Zealand last toured in 2009, and skipper Mahela Jayawardene is looking forward to trying to turn that recent record around, starting in Galle on Saturday.
"We haven't played Test cricket for some time now and we'll try to be as consistent as possible," he said. "We still need to improve but we're working hard."