Home > Features >

England vs Sri Lanka 2014: Angelo Mathews — The unassuming assassin

Angelo Mathews © Getty Images
Angelo Mathews should be able to rise to the task admirably © Getty Images

The burden of captaincy does not seem to affect Angelo Mathews, as he completed his second Test century to help Sri Lanka recover from a tough position against England in the first Test match at Lord’s. Shiamak Unwalla looks at the man who could one day become one of Sri Lanka’s greats.

Angelo Mathews is not yet a name that would instantly come to mind when one thinks of Sri Lankan cricket. He does not possess the flair of Kumar Sangakkara, the elegance of Mahela Jayawardene or the belligerence of Tillakaratne Dilshan. While bowling, he hardly evokes the terror of Lasith Malinga or the deadliness of Chaminda Vaas.

And yet, he is one player who Sri Lanka can bank on for the future. Youngsters like Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal and Kaushal Silva are still to prove themselves consistently, while bowlers like Nuwan Pradeep, Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal are sometimes in and out of the side.

Mathews is someone who can be relied on to perform whenever and wherever required. With the bat, he brings an air of discipline and dependability to the crease. In the 38 Tests he has played, he has scored 2,308 runs at an impressive average of 46 with and 14 fifties and two hundreds, including a splendid 102 at Lord’s in the ongoing match.

As a frame of reference, Sanath Jayasuriya — widely considered one of the most impactful Sri Lankan batsmen of all time — averaged only 40 with 14 hundreds and 31 fifties in 110 games. Of course, Jayasuriya performed a different role entirely, and comparing the two does not tell the full story. But the fact that Mathews’ batting has great potential is unquestionable.

Mathews’ One-Day Internationals’ (ODIs) record is also quite impressive: In 127 matches, he has scored 2,726 runs at an average of 36.83 and a strike rate of 83.85. He is yet to hit a hundred, which is understandable given the position he bats at, but has 19 fifties to his name. For someone who bats in the lower-middle order, these are very impressive figures. When compared with Jayawardene, he actually has a higher average and strike rate in ODIs. Again, this does not present a big picture, but shows Mathews’ skills even in the shorter format.

On the bowling front, Mathews is less exciting. He is more of a line-and-length bowler who can slip in some tight overs than an all-out wicket-taker. He is certainly less-than-effective in Tests, as a bowling average of almost 71 and a strike rate of 138 would suggest. In ODIs, however, his bowling gets far more impactful. A bowling average of 35 and strike rate of nearly 47 coupled with an economy rate of just 4.48 prove his effectiveness.

It seems that Mathews will never be as iconic a figure as Jayasuriya or Jayawardene. He seems destined for a less glamorous role: that of a workhorse who can be relied on through thick and thin. In a team that will potentially be filled with mavericks, Mathews will be the stable influence that will provide direction to the team.

Being the captain of the side, his role will be to marshal his players and give them direction. For someone with a mature head and his shoulders, Mathews should be able to rise to the task admirably. If he can keep up his good start, Sri Lankan cricket can rest assured that he will lead them to great heights.

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Steve O’Keefe and other Test cricketers with apostrophes in their surnames

Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Geoff Marsh and other Father-Son trios to have played Test cricket

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Why did Mohammad Hafeez go for a shocking review?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Live Streaming: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Live Scorecard: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2 at Dubai

Teams display confidence ahead of the World Cricket League Division 3

Saeed Ajmal’s action to be assessed after two more weeks of remedial work under Saqlain Mushtaq

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

Joginder Sharma: When an over eclipses a career

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1 highlights: Younis Khan’s ton, Mitchell Johnson’s riveting spell

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here