England in Sri Lanka 2011-12 April 7, 2012

Mathews' scary power needs structure

Angelo Mathews hasn’t convinced me he’s a Test No
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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bindu on April 8, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    U got it right

  • Nipun on April 8, 2012, 12:58 GMT

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

  • roshanga on April 8, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Totally not agreed!!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bindu on April 8, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    U got it right

  • Nipun on April 8, 2012, 12:58 GMT

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

  • roshanga on April 8, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Totally not agreed!!!

  • shakith medawala on April 8, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    well said Jarrod Kimber he will take sri lanka 2 a new era in future....

  • jagath on April 8, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    if shewag and dilshan can bat no 1 batsman why you are not trying angelo to open the innings. just wasting thirimanne over there

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    I'm a srilankan.I have ominous feeling of loosing Anjelo Mathews.He seems only rely on one or two remarkable ODI efforts,not transform his guts and not remarkable but finely polished talent in to the greatest format.If it were It would be a great miss to SL cricket that it can't afford to in this darkest moment.Surely he has time.Thanks for this.

  • erantha on April 8, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Jarrod, I think you should have a chat with Hathurusinghe, a man who shaped Samaraweera and knew how important Mathews is for Sri Lankan future consisting of Chandimal, Thirimanne, a few others like Angelo Perera and Buaneka Rajapakse. I would was he is someone like Arjuna and Dhoni, who thrives on desperate situations. But Hathurisnghe would know how he batted for Sri Lanka A in South Africa at no 4. He scored several centuries including a 167 in that tour and averages very high. He has a first class best of 267 in Sri Lanka batting at No 4. I think he is destines to bat at no 4 in the future. Chandimal at 3 and Thirimanne at either 1,2 or 5.

  • silva on April 8, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    well said, i also still not sure whether mathews know how to construct a test innig, he is a world class player when it comes to odi and a match winner, but in test hmmmmmmmmmmm, oh he should give up test cricket like lasith mallinga so he could play more cricket because of his bad leg, i think he should be better off playing odi cricket and let a knew player like banuka rajapaksha to take his spot.

  • taco on April 8, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    This guy's got an unbelievable temperament. in fact he just enjoys playing in pressure situations. every time i see Sri Lanka in a dire situation, especially on chases. there's Mathews building his innings with the tailenders. top talent.

  • ag4546a on April 8, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    Mathew's is probably the best all-rounder Sri Lanka has ever produced. However, if SL wants to gets maximum out of Mathew's as a batsman, they should promote him up the batting order. More often than not Mathew's get stuck with the tail and that force him to change his natural batting style.

  • ag4546a on April 8, 2012, 1:55 GMT

    Mathew's is probably the best all-rounder Sri Lanka has ever produced. However, if SL wants to gets maximum out of Mathew's as a batsman, they should promote him up the batting order. More often than not Mathew's get stuck with the tail and that force him to change his natural batting style.

  • Malik Mendis on April 7, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    There is something very encouraging for the future of Sri Lanka Cricket when you consider Mathew's temperament under pressure. I quite agree with Jarrod Kimber that he needs to bat with the same attitude under normal circumstances. His power would then be indeed scary.

  • Ahnaf on April 7, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    I seriously hope he will be able to bowl again. He's a mercurial talent, no doubt about it. Not many players can stay calm like him in pressure situations. Awesome all-rounder.

  • ANANDA on April 7, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    SRILANKAN BATSMAN SHOULD PRACTICE HOW TO FACE G. SWAN LIKE SPINNERRS.

  • Ramesh on April 7, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    I agree with you..Actually till 19 he was a very good bowler too with lot of speed..then he started to bowl medium pace because of the injuries..

  • chami on April 7, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    When herath came to bat why he score a last ball. Mathiws should not run for last ball but I see few time that happen. Finely he got out but Mathi did well with Lakmal.

  • pd on April 7, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Nail in the head Kimber. Mathews is a very impressive batter when in tough situations, a real force to reckon with. He would have to learn to transform that confidence into a normal innings and be consistent. He is too talented not to do that and will get there in time.

  • Brandon on April 7, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    He is a young intelligent cricketer, who reads the game well. Undoubtedly, Sri Lanka's next captain.

  • Dishan on April 7, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    Kimber seems to have developed a liking towards Angelo Matthews

  • Ravine on April 7, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    Oh this is where you are so wrong Mr Kimber!!! He just needs to bat in top 4. He has two double centuries and a top score of 270. At number 6 he never gets the chance. 99% of his test innings he has been trying make something out of nothing with the tail as he walks in with his team in dire straits everytime and never ever has a partner to stick with him. the only time he did he scored a 100 aginst the Aussies. Bat him top 4 he will prove your ill evidenced conclusion wrong in a mere couple of test matches. He would have scored more than 10 centuries if he was given to bat top 4. PERIOD!!!!

  • shaj on April 7, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    I feel Angelo's potential as a batsman is not being realised with him coming in at no.6. As you rightly point out, he invariably finds himself having to shepherd the tail in a test match or play the finisher's role in an ODI. This is a young player with tremendous talent, who is not being given the opportunity to express himself in his natural style. I would much rather see him coming in at no.3 or no.4 in test cricket, which would give him far more of a chance to play an expansive innings and realise his potential - for me, Angelo is the KP of the Sri Lankan lineup. I would love to see Thilan Samaraweera move back down to 6 - the ideal Test slot for him, in my view.

  • RATED on April 7, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    I think we only saw 50% of mathews talent....he has the potential to put another 50%...as u said he needs structure

  • charith on April 7, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    i totally agree with you. when he is batting with a proper batsman he never takes charge of the situation he just seems to meander along but when in a dire situation he takes charge and he suddenly comes to life .

  • udendra on April 7, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    for a young allrounder, the Sri lankan vice captain amuses me with his calm.

  • Chintan Vinod Shinde on April 7, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    something spooky happened... i was half-smiling while reading this.. more like a pavlovian response... so is this a one-off thing?.. or we would see more of the serious jrod...

  • Darshan on April 7, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    Mathews has had limited opportunity to construct an innings because more often than not he has found himself batting with the tail. One of the opportunities he got with a middle order batsman was against Aussie where he batted with Mahela and scored a century.

    The problem with the current Sri Lankan team is that if Mathews does not bowl the balance is wrong. Mathews should ideally be batting at No 5 (which at the moment I don't think he has done enough as a batsman to claim as his own.) or he needs to bowl a few overs if only to give the other bowlers a break.

    Its also high time that Sri Lanka looked to the future and gave Chandimal or Bhanuka Rajapakse an extended stint at number 4. Move Mahela down to 5 so that the youngsters will always bat with Mahela, Sanga or Dilshan. This will help them build the right temperament and be comfortable playing their natural game.

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  • Darshan on April 7, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    Mathews has had limited opportunity to construct an innings because more often than not he has found himself batting with the tail. One of the opportunities he got with a middle order batsman was against Aussie where he batted with Mahela and scored a century.

    The problem with the current Sri Lankan team is that if Mathews does not bowl the balance is wrong. Mathews should ideally be batting at No 5 (which at the moment I don't think he has done enough as a batsman to claim as his own.) or he needs to bowl a few overs if only to give the other bowlers a break.

    Its also high time that Sri Lanka looked to the future and gave Chandimal or Bhanuka Rajapakse an extended stint at number 4. Move Mahela down to 5 so that the youngsters will always bat with Mahela, Sanga or Dilshan. This will help them build the right temperament and be comfortable playing their natural game.

  • Chintan Vinod Shinde on April 7, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    something spooky happened... i was half-smiling while reading this.. more like a pavlovian response... so is this a one-off thing?.. or we would see more of the serious jrod...

  • udendra on April 7, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    for a young allrounder, the Sri lankan vice captain amuses me with his calm.

  • charith on April 7, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    i totally agree with you. when he is batting with a proper batsman he never takes charge of the situation he just seems to meander along but when in a dire situation he takes charge and he suddenly comes to life .

  • RATED on April 7, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    I think we only saw 50% of mathews talent....he has the potential to put another 50%...as u said he needs structure

  • shaj on April 7, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    I feel Angelo's potential as a batsman is not being realised with him coming in at no.6. As you rightly point out, he invariably finds himself having to shepherd the tail in a test match or play the finisher's role in an ODI. This is a young player with tremendous talent, who is not being given the opportunity to express himself in his natural style. I would much rather see him coming in at no.3 or no.4 in test cricket, which would give him far more of a chance to play an expansive innings and realise his potential - for me, Angelo is the KP of the Sri Lankan lineup. I would love to see Thilan Samaraweera move back down to 6 - the ideal Test slot for him, in my view.

  • Ravine on April 7, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    Oh this is where you are so wrong Mr Kimber!!! He just needs to bat in top 4. He has two double centuries and a top score of 270. At number 6 he never gets the chance. 99% of his test innings he has been trying make something out of nothing with the tail as he walks in with his team in dire straits everytime and never ever has a partner to stick with him. the only time he did he scored a 100 aginst the Aussies. Bat him top 4 he will prove your ill evidenced conclusion wrong in a mere couple of test matches. He would have scored more than 10 centuries if he was given to bat top 4. PERIOD!!!!

  • Dishan on April 7, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    Kimber seems to have developed a liking towards Angelo Matthews

  • Brandon on April 7, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    He is a young intelligent cricketer, who reads the game well. Undoubtedly, Sri Lanka's next captain.

  • pd on April 7, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Nail in the head Kimber. Mathews is a very impressive batter when in tough situations, a real force to reckon with. He would have to learn to transform that confidence into a normal innings and be consistent. He is too talented not to do that and will get there in time.