Mills swallows proverbial bitter pill

New Zealand

Captain Kyle Mills cut a frustrated figure, after New Zealand lost Saturday's rain-affected third and final ODI against Sri Lanka in Dambulla by 36 runs.

Captain Kyle Mills cut a frustrated figure, after New Zealand lost Saturday's rain-affected third and final ODI against Sri Lanka in Dambulla by 36 runs.

Rain reduced the fixture to a mere 33 overs per side, before poor light prevented the Black Caps from completing a testing pursuit of a 216-run target.

Umpires Bruce Oxenford and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, in fact, drew close to a play when the Kiwis were on 126 for six, with all-rounders Nathan McCullum and Jimmy Neesham's promising stand cut short.

"For a day game to have a scheduled close of play after sunset where obviously it's not possible to play – it doesn't sound like commonsense to me," said Mills.

"Especially when we fought our way into the match and were in a position to win it. We were in a better position today than we were in the last game, which we won. It's a bitter pill to swallow."

"We were told 33 overs, but we were aware that it was going to get dark not long after 5:30 and we probably weren't going to get our full allotment of overs in.

"I feel like we were slightly hardly done in that situation. Whether we would have gone on to win or lose is not something I can answer, but it is frustrating. To score 90 runs off eight overs at the end is something we could have achieved."

With the series drawn and a two-match Twenty20 International in Pallekele to follow next week, when inclement weather might also affect proceedings, Mills found consolation in the performances of Neesham and fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan.

Neesham, in the absence of the veteran Daniel Vettori and injured Corey Anderson, is steadily securing a berth as the team's leading all-rounder. McClenaghan, meanwhile, justfied selection ahead of the young Adam Milne en route to telling figures of two for 34 on Saturday.

"A couple of the young players stood up. Jimmy Neesham played well with the ball bat despite getting a dislocated finger at the end of Bangladesh series. Mitchell bowled the best he has bowled all tour," added Mills.

"A few guys stepped up and we've persevered really well in tough situations – both times with the ball. Sri Lanka got off to a good start and the way we fought our way back into each innings was exceptionally pleasing."

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