England in Sri Lanka 2012 March 23, 2012

Injured Mathews out of first England Test, future as bowler doubtful


Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka allrounder, has been ruled out of the first Test against England with a calf injury that has quickened speculation that his ability to bowl at international level is now open to serious doubt.

The assertion by Ashantha de Mel, Sri Lanka's chief selector, that Mathews faces a potential future as a specialist batsman will come as a shock to a side that has only a couple of days to regroup ahead of the Galle Test after rushing back home from the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

Mathews failed a fitness test on his injured calf on Friday morning. The injury kept him out of the Asia Cup and the finals of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series. Chamara Silva, a middle-order batsman, who made a magnificent century against England for the Sri Lanka Development XI earlier this week, replaces Mathews in the squad. Thilan Samaraweera takes over Mathews' role of vice-captain to Mahela Jayawardene.

"I don't think we can use Mathews as an allrounder in the future," de Mel said. "Mathews has some problem with his legs and it is very unlikely he will bowl much. We have to look at him purely as a batsman."

Silva, who took 163 from 180 balls off the tourists' attack on a bountiful batting surface at the SSC, only for England to win by four wickets in a last-day run chase, has been in prolific form during the home first-class season, being the only batsman to top 1000 runs. He played the last of his 11 Tests for Sri Lanka in April 2008 against West Indies in Port of Spain, and has since been in and out of the one-day side.

De Mel also stated that Tharanga Paranavitana and Lahiru Thirimanne will contest the right to partner Tillakaratne Dilshan at the top of the order. A fast bowler's spot is also likely to be similarly contested with either Suranga Lakmal or Dhammika Prasad expected to partner Chanaka Welegedara.

"The team management will have to take a call on who should bat at no. 7," De Mel said. "It is between regular wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and Dinesh Chandimal, who has not kept wickets for some time."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Janitha on March 25, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    Why Upul Tharanga is not given any chance? He has scored 12 ODI centuries...but don't understnd y he hadn't got much opportunity in Tests...

  • Heshan on March 25, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    My team is 1.Chandimal 2.Dilshan 3.Sanga 4.Mahela 5.Samaraweera 6.Chamara 7.Randiv 8.Herath 9.Prasad 10.Welagedara 11.Lakmal The main reason behind this 11 is... Look @ our bowling side..we cant afford to go with only 4 main bowlers!! Only 1 RFB to bowl lots of overs..??? it will put loads of work to the 2 fast bowlers.. SO we need 5 main bowlers including 3 seamers as well as 2 spinners..coz we are playing in Galle.Randiv can bat well.so it dosent matter to let him bat @ no.7.both Herath n Prasad can give 20-30 runs. So we must go with 6-5 combination..

  • Leo on March 25, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Its important to analyse how the top three SL batters perform these days. We cannot expect Sanga, Dilshan or Mahela to score more than a forty or a fifty these days. They are so indisciplined in their approach, that opposition bowlers do not plan anymore. They just know its a matter of time before Sanga will drive in the air, or Dilshan will hook from outside the off stump , or Mahela will snick to slip and it will be 70 for 3. Then we need Thilan and Mathews type of player to bat sensibly using their heads, rotate strike and blunt the attack in the scorching hot sun. We do not want brainless crazy swinging the bat at everything type, driving on the up, dont know when to leave the ball, dont know where the off stump is, type of batsman. Dilshan,Sanga and Mahela are such examples. Sri Lanka can never win test matches with them alone. We need intelligent batting from Thilan, Mathews and Chandimal, Prasanna etc.

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    My team 1.T Dilshan 2.L Thirimanne 3.K sannakkara 4.D chandimal 5.T samaraweera 6.C silva 7.P jayawardena 8.S Randiv 9.R herath 10.C welagedara 11.S Lakmal

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    My 11 for the 1st Test - Thirimanna, Dilshan, Sanga, Mahela, Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Chandimal, Randiv, Herath, Welagedara and Prasad

    Not Paranawitharana please. I have respect for Prasanna Jayawardena but give Chandimal a go. he deserves despite bad form in the Asia Cup. That will give the youngster a world of confidence

  • boyrocky on March 24, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    @ all who commented to my post....

    for who say we dont have better batsmen than mathews -> we will never find out until we give chances to people like bhanuka rajapaksha, anjelo perera, kaushal silva etc... what i meant was a genuine batsman is needed and mathews i'm sorry is not a genuine batsman with test quality technique.

    for who say he has a great average in test cricket batting in lower order -> pls compare averages of adam gilchrist, VVS laxman etc who come down lower order. in tests 40 is not an exellent average....

  • Randika on March 24, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    Upul Tharanga should be in the team!! Unlike Mathews who plays for himself mostly, Tharanga has played for the team, atleast of late. Mathews and Malinga are headed in the same direction I fear, and Malinga should be dropped outright for showing no commitment whatsoever in the field and while bowling at crucial points. To compete as a pure batsman mathews has to up his game a lot more

  • Dru on March 24, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    Mathews missed the WC final, the CB final, the Asia cup - the time has come to get over Mathews bowling and play him as a batter and he hasnt really done much as a batter either.

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    To build up a very compittive Srilankan team in all aspects it is very essential to explore for a team a genuine all rounder and dashing opener in domestic level and give them proper training well in advance to face any kind of challanges in future.

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    But one of the local news paper confirmed that mathews would be available for selection to play the first test.

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