Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga (AFP Photo)

Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga has issued a stern warning to his players saying they have to realise and respect the value of playing international cricket for the country as such chances won’t be available to them readily. (READ: Bowlers, de Kock hand SA big win)

Malinga’s blunt words came in wake of Sri Lanka suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of South Africa in the 2nd ODI of a five-match series on Wednesday.

The hosts made a terrific start with the opening pair racing away to 91 runs in 14.2 overs before the Sri Lankan bowlers had them bowled out for 250 in 45.1 overs.

“First 10-15 overs we did not bowl well. But we corrected ourselves and restricted them to 250. Very good effort from the bowlers,” Malinga said after the match.

However, despite an improved show from the bowlers, the batsmen surrendered meekly against the red-hot pace trio of Kagiso Rabada (3/43), Lungi Ngidi (2/14) and Anrich Nortje (2/25). The tourists were bowled out for a mere 138 in 32.2 overs as South Africa recorded a big 113-run win to take 2-0 lead.

Clearly, the 35-year-old Malinga wasn’t impressed. “I think they [Sri Lankan [players] didn’t understand. I feel this is not a gift. They have talent. That’s why they’re playing for the national team. They have to understand that. They have to understand their own value. We have done enough talking. Players have to realise they have to value these opportunities. They don’t come around every day. They have to grab it,” he said.

Sri Lanka will fight to save the series when the two teams square off in Durban for the third ODI on March 10.