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April 7, 2012

England in Sri Lanka 2011-12

Mathews' scary power needs structure

Jarrod Kimber
Angelo Mathews resisted with 46, Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, P Sara Oval, 5th day, April 7, 2012
Angelo Mathews shepherded Sri Lanka's tail to a few more runs on the morning of day five  © AFP
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Angelo Mathews hasn’t convinced me he’s a Test No. 6 batsman.

He probably doesn’t have to as Mahela Jayawardene and Graham Ford haven’t yet come up to me for advice on the batting line-up. But while he has the skill to bat at five or six in Test cricket, he doesn’t structure his innings well. Lots of young allrounders have his problem. They can bat, but because of being a bowler as well it’s as if they just haven’t learned how to pace and build a proper Test match innings.

Shane Watson still has that problem today, he can bat, but making a big Test match hundred is really hard for him. That said he has turned himself into a batsman by the sheer number of smaller contributions he makes.

One day Mathews will probably learn. Like Watson, Mathews may have to adapt because his body cannot stand the rigours of bowling.

Right now the only time Mathews looks really in charge of the situation is when he’s involved with a chase, or batting with the tail. It’s proper mission batting. When the situation dictates how he has to bat, Angelo doesn’t need to worry about how to structure or pace himself, he just does what the situation needs.

Against Australia in a couple of ODIs that has just been encouragement of the tail and brutal hitting.

Against England today it was just clever boundary hitting and manipulation of the strike.

If you’ve ever seen Angelo Mathews bat in a dire situation, you are going to be a fan of him. Mathews turns from a batsmen with good shots who is a little unsure of himself into a calm one-man wrecking crew with the skill of a proper batsman, the power of big hitter and the carefree attitude of an allrounder.

It’s brutal fun in an often bad situation for Sri Lanka.

Today he only lasted untill 46. But he gave Sri Lanka something, if not much, to bowl at. Without him not even the most pessimistic England fan would have been nervous.

Mathews went hard through mid-on with scary power, swept and reverse swept cleverly and found the right singles to keep Suranga Lakmal away from as much danger as he could. In these situations he hits the ball with an authority and calmness he doesn’t have in a normal innings.

There is plenty of time for him to learn how to construct an innings, and I hope he does. Even if he doesn’t, with the skills and temperament he has, he’s going to be a consistent saviour for Sri Lanka in the future.

Smashing the ball through long-on and looking calm doing so.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

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Posted by Shantanu on (April 15, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

Very good point, Jarrod. Mathews has only proved himself in pressure situations (a good thing) but also has to develop his other skills. I don't get how this relates to a "post-apocalyptic dystopian cricket world", but it's still a great article.

Posted by Shane on (April 10, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

Funny article, before any thing else he needs to learn how to play a inning for his team not for him self. his first inning let massive down fall to Sri Lanka.if u look at all his innings include test and odi how many times he is been able to put up a fight like Mahela did in previous test. Interesting how he's Gona caption with his attitude, hope not any sooner.

Posted by Michael on (April 10, 2012, 2:00 GMT)

Interesting thoughts. I haven't really seen Mathews bat in tests, but I have noticed that he seems almost to bat better under tense ODI chase conditions.... This made me think about that in a new way. Thanks for the article.

Posted by Sandeep Chavan on (April 9, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

A test average of 40+ containing 9 scores more than 50 runs in 23 test matches is definitely above par performance even if we decide to call AD Mathews an all rounder. He has not bowled much in test matches though. He looks a class apart in the young SriLankan batting line up, has all the shots in the book and with age will surely grow in stature. I personally think however he needs a bit of more exposure, may be moving up the order and not sure about his leadership qualities, but a worthy try for future captaincy for Srilanka. He has done well and touch wood, he should go well. The world cricket needs people like him.

Posted by Mausifan on (April 9, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

Apart from Kohli, he is THE player to take world cricket to the next level. He is likely to replace the likes of Kallis in world cricket. Like Mathews, Kalli's started at the lower middle order and slowly went up the order to be the dominant player in SA and world cricket. Mathews for his age has got a very good temperament, enjoys playing under pressure. SL should test him up the batting order, as he along with Chandimal will replace Mahela and Sanga as the leading SL batsmen

Posted by Rod Fletcher on (April 8, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

He's doing OK. It will come. Pietersen only seems able to deliver when his place is under threat.

Posted by Pradeep on (April 8, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

Something that i've always thought. And now, as a pure batsman, he has to learn and learn fast. Bear in mind that Chandimal is eyeing his place and he's a better batsman than Mattews, albeit lacking the temperament and patience to be a Test quality batsman. for now. So Mattews better hurry up if he wants to stay in the Test side.

Posted by Bindu on (April 8, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

U got it right

Posted by Nipun on (April 8, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

Are you the only one to understand whatever rubbish you've come up with ?

Posted by roshanga on (April 8, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

Totally not agreed!!!

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