New Zealand have played 18 bilateral Test series over the last five years. Of those, four have been three-match series, with two-match series making up the remainder. Compare that to the team they defeated in the World Test Championship final. India have played 18 series too, but 12 of them have included at least three Tests. Unlike New Zealand, they have also featured in a number of four- and five-match series in this period.
"I guess one of our strengths as a side is that we sort of just concentrate on what's put in front of us, and what we try and achieve as a group, [but] I guess playing more Test cricket as a whole would be nice," Southee said in a media interaction on Monday. "We don't play that many three-match series, so I guess just being able to play more Test matches and hopefully more three-match series rather than two-match series.
"But yeah, I think it's tough with future tours [programme] already being in place up to now, but just being able to perform at this level for a number of years and being a consistent side, I guess we have that right to play more Test cricket."
Asked what difference a third Test would make in a series, Southee said it would accentuate the challenge that the Test-match format already presented. "As players, Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game, and you always want to play more," he said. "It's something that we haven't played a lot of, three-match-series, so to be able to test yourself over three matches rather than just two matches - it's obviously a lot more taxing, it's a tougher battle to get yourself up and go again over three matches, but that's the beauty of it, and it's part and parcel of it. It's tough cricket, and you want to play as much as you possibly can."
And he wants to do this from an individual perspective as well. Southee, who's only 32 but has been part of the New Zealand set-up since 2008, pointed to his team-mate Ross Taylor and his English swing-bowling counterpart James Anderson as examples of how far elite cricketers can stretch their careers.
"I feel as fit as I ever have, so I'd love to play this game for as long as I possibly can," Southee said. "It's an absolute privilege and an absolute honour to represent your country, and do what we do, so I personally would love to do it [for as long as possible].
"Seeing guys like James Anderson, at 38, still being able to do what he's doing gives everyone hope, Ross Taylor at 37 still being able to perform at this level. I think it comes down to the individual standards that you set yourself, and you're able to hold those high standards that it takes to play at this level, then I guess age is only a number. I hope there's a lot of life left in me."