Sri Lanka have lost the three-match Twenty20 International series against New Zealand with defeats in the first two games, but captain Lasith Malinga is not too disappointed.
Speaking in the presentation ceremony after Sri Lanka lost the second match narrowly by four wickets, Malinga said he was happy as long as the youngsters showed fight.
“We tried our best. All the youngsters gave it their all and we had a decent score. We still fought hard but didn’t have the luck in those crucial moments. Glad with the brand of cricket we’ve played and this is how I want the team to play going forward," he said.
Sri Lanka had posted 161 for 9 in 20 overs with Kusal Mendis, Avishka Fernando and Niroshan Dickwella all making contributions. Half-centuries from Colin de Grandhomme and Tom Bruce then led New Zealand to a win in the last over.
The win was dramatic particularly in the last over. With seven needed, New Zealand lost two wickets in the first two balls. The third ball too was ‘caught’ in the deep when Mitchell Santner miscued a shot, but the catcher Shehan Jayasuriya collided with Mendis to fall behind the line, resulting in six.
Malinga revealed both fielders were fine to play the next match.
“We have one more game, we’ll try our best. Want to give the youngsters the freedom to express themselves. They’re learning and hopefully they’ll continue improving. Losing doesn’t matter as long as the team shows character. Of course we want to win but we also want to test our bench strength," he added.
Tim Southee, the captain and Man of the Match for his spell of 2 for 18, was glad to get across the line.
“Couple of great games of cricket, in front of great crowds. Always nice to get across the line in such games. Got a bit tight towards the end but we back our batters down till the end. We have some power till the end," he said. “Nice to know that the two guys aren’t injured (Jayasuriya and Mendis). It’s pleasing for us to see different people step up. Colin was excellent and did well with Tom to set things up after those early wickets. We’ll enjoy the series win tonight and then shift our focus to the last game."
The third T20I will be played on Friday in Pallekele.