Happy-birthday,Angelo-Mathews!

Angelo Mathews, the captain and middle-order batsman who embodies what is cool and promising in Sri Lanka’s present cricketing prospects, turns 28 on Tuesday. His presence on the field is marked by his unflappability, his ability to gauge situations and absorb pressure. He reached new heights in his batting in the last year, with impressive performances and statistics in Tests and ODIs, and has grown into a strong leader of the national team. READ: Angelo Mathews can overtake Sachin Tendulkar, feels Sri Lanka’s outgoing cricket manager

In Tests and ODIs, he averaged 87.80 and 62 respectively in 2014, with his century in Headingley, which led to victory against England, being the highlight of that year. In 46 Tests, he averages 51.50. But he is known for his Dhoni-like ability to stem the batting slide of this team and finish chases. His single-handed steer of Sri Lanka to a famous win in Melbourne in 2010, with significant stands with the tail, stands as a definition of what he is capable of. READ: Wisden names Kumar Sangakkara leading men’s cricket player in the world; Moeen Ali, Angelo Mathews among cricketers of the year

His maturity on the cricket field, and his talent as a player helped him climb the steps to become the youngest Test captain at 25. Under him, Sri Lanka have lost four Tests and won six. In his second series as captain, he was on the threshold of an away series victory against Pakistan, but his lack of experience showed in the final Test, as Pakistan chased a target in limited time. But Pakistan were beaten by his team comprehensively at home, later last year, 2-0. The series win in England, Sri Lanka’s first, is the highlight of his captaincy career. It was a series in which he scored 306 runs in four innings at 76.50. READ: Angelo Mathews has taken giant strides as Sri Lanka captain

Sri Lanka had a below par period in the last few months, and with a lacklustre display against New Zealand in the opening match of the 2015 World Cup, it looked as if their challenge at the event would fizzle out soon. But he rejuvenated his side to enable them to go out with some fighting performances, to add respect to the outgoing stalwarts Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. Mathews is expected to take the baton from them and lead his country to new heights.