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April 5, 2012
Features : Batsmen climb the learning curve
Report : Strauss and Cook back in the old routine
News : Swann hits out at 'witch hunt'
News : Injured Mathews out of first England Test, future as bowler doubtful
Players/Officials: Angelo Mathews
Matches: Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (PSS)
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Sri Lanka
Angelo Mathews, touted as the heir apparent to the Sri Lanka captaincy, is determined to play his role as an allrounder in the team despite being sidelined by constant leg injuries.
Ashantha de Mel, Sri Lanka's chief selector, suggested on the eve of the Test series against England that Mathews faced a potential future as a specialist batsman, saying: "I don't think we can use Mathews as an allrounder in the future. He 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."
Mathews himself, who was powerless to intervene as England crawled towards a position of authority on the second day of the second Test in Colombo, disagreed. "Definitely I am not going to give up on my bowling in ODIs and T20 cricket," he said.
"The longer format I need to rethink and manage my workload. I've been having a few issues in my legs. I really don't know why I tend to get injured constantly. I am trying my level best to get rid of those injuries."
Mathews missed the World Cup final against India last year and was ruled out of the Asia Cup last month as well as the first Test of the present series.
"If I have a long season I need to readjust and think about my workload because playing in all three formats it takes a lot out of you," he said. "As an allrounder it's very demanding. You need to keep yourself fit.
Mathews returned to the Sri Lanka side after being forced to miss the first Test at Galle because of an injury to his right calf and scored a cautious 57 from 157 balls to help Sri Lanka to a first innings total of 275.
"We were looking at around 300-plus when we went to bat in the morning but the English bowlers bowled really well. The pitch wasn't easy to bat on as it was getting slower and slower but the bowlers made it even harder for us," he said.
"The English have played really well for the first couple of days and we need to get back into the game by taking a few wickets early on. If we can do that we can push them back. The wicket is not that great to bat on and it's pretty slow so we need to keep bowling in the right areas and do the right things."
Mathews said that Alastair Cook. who was missed at 20 and remained unbeaten on 77 at the close. was the key batsman to dismiss. "If we had held onto that catch it would have been different, but chances do go begging sometimes. Nevertheless he batted well and he held his nerve. We need to get his wicket early tomorrow."
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