Home > Features >

Angelo Mathews gives ample proof of his ability to lead from the front with his herculean efforts against Pakistan

Angelo Mathews © AFP
Angelo Mathews scored 91 in the first innings and followed it up with a match-saving ton scoring  an unbeaten 157 © AFP

By Bharath Ramraj

In the past, there have been major question marks lingering over Angelo Mathews leading Sri Lanka’s Test squad, as he has struggled to hit noteworthy crusts in the longer format of the game. However, by launching a rescue mission for Sri Lanka in both the innings against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi in the first Test, he has made his detractors swallow the bitter-pill.

It seemed like Pakistan was going to romp home with a convincing win. But Mathews showed guts and spunk to take them to safety. He stonewalled Pakistan’s deadly threat of Saeed Ajmal by using his reach to come well forward. On a slow track lacking the bite, he also went back to play Ajmal’s doosra by using the depth of the crease.

If the first innings of 91 from Mathews gave an inkling that he can lead Sri Lanka from the front then his herculean effort in the second innings  proved that his first innings knock was no fluke. The pitch was flat and once the initial movement disappeared, it became easy for batting. There were occasions when Mathews looked unconvincing at the crease, especially against the left-arm seamer, Junaid Khan.  Nevertheless, it was still a remarkable turnaround engineered by the Sri Lankan all-rounder scoring 157 not out.

It isn’t like Mathews has only come good in the shorter versions of the game. At Hobart, on a dicey track in 2012-13 series he held his own against a rampaging Australian attack generating prodigious reverse swing and getting the ball to move off those cracks that had developed during that Test. At Colombo’s P Sara Oval last year, Mathews was the only batsman who stood tall in Sri Lanka’s first innings against New Zealand’s swing-kings — Trent Boult and Tim Southee, respectively. But that career defining innings was missing from his resume which came at Abu Dhabi against Pakistan.

Mathews still has a long way to go as a Test cricketer. His bowling is perhaps short of being a frontline Test match seamer. He can at best do a holding job with the red-cherry.  So, it puts more pressure on him to contribute with the willow all the time. Despite being an astute captain, he has a task on his hands, as he is leading a Sri Lankan set-up that is going through a transitional phase and struggling to find world class Test cricketers. The pace bowling stocks, especially isn’t good enough. Interesting times ahead for Angelo Mathews and his team!

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Kingstown, St Vincent

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014  at Harare

Zimbabwe won by 3 wkts

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Photos

Australia vs Zimbabwe, ODI tri-series at Harare

Videos

Misbah disppointed with Pakistan's performance

India vs England Live Cricket score, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Fifty for Moeen Ali

Australia vs South Africa Live Cricket Score, Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014 Match 5 at Harare: Australia set a target of 283

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Key Battles

Ishant Sharma: 10 facts you need to know about the towering Indian paceman

India vs England 4th ODI at Birmingham: England likely XI

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 Australia vs Zimbabwe England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 Zimbabwe vs Australia

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Moeen Ali gets fifty

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Jos Buttler dismissed by Mohammed Shami

Mitchell Marsh records highest strike rate in an ODI innings for Australia against South Africa

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler aim fightback

India vs England 2014, 4th ODI at Edgbaston: Joe Root dismissed by Suresh Raina

Mitchell Marsh records highest strike rate in an ODI innings for Australia against South Africa

N Srinivasan faces a two-month wait as Mudgal commission prepares final report

Norman Gordon passes away at 103

Australia vs South Africa, 4th ODI at Harare: Key Clashes

Tom Groube: First New Zealand-born cricketer to play a Test

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

626 Posts | 7 Fans

Videos highlights of Serey Die crying during Ivory Coast's national anthem in FIFA World Cup 2014 match

Xiaomi Redmi 1S second sale scheduled for September 9 while first batch gets delivered on September 16

Diya Aur Baati Hum: Anas Rashid and Dipika Singh celebrate as their show completes 3 years

Yoga to deal with anxiety disorders

सोने के वक्त मोबाइल अपने तकिये के पास क्यों नहीं रखना चाहिए ?

NASA building traffic control system for drones

Aagadu Bhelpuri song teaser: Mahesh Babu and Tamannaah sizzle together!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here