Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Colombo, 3rd day November 27, 2012

Mathews' near miss, and his self-ignored advice

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the third day of the Colombo Test

The fend

Tharanga Paranavitana showcased a skill more befitting a rugby back than a Test batsman to earn himself four bonus runs in the second over of the day, as he completed a quick single after dropping the ball into the off side. Jeetan Patel at cover swooped in and felt he had a chance of running Paranavitana out, but his throw to the bowler's end was wild, and threatened the running batsman instead of the stumps. Paranavitana reached behind him and fended the ball away, much like a rugby fullback would when trying to shake off the last defender, and the ball ricocheted off his gloves and went even further away from the fielder who was already struggling to back up the throw. Paranavitana was not deemed to be handling the ball or obstructing the field as the batsman is allowed to use his hands in self-preservation in that context.

The near-miss(es)

Angelo Mathews could also have got himself and his partner out with the same shot in the third over of the morning, when he straight drove Trent Boult aerially. Boult at first felt he had a chance to take the catch, but he was too slow to react. If he had got a finger on the ball he might have effected a dismissal as the ball went on to hit the off stump with Paranavitana out of his crease. Even the umpire had a near miss as force of the shot uprooted the stump, which cartwheeled not far from him.

The catch

Martin Guptill has had a woeful tour of Sri Lanka so far with the bat, but his stunning reflexes and sure hands haven't left him, which was seen in his stellar catch to dismiss Mathews at second slip. Mathews lunged at a fullish wide delivery from Southee, and the resulting outside edge flew fast and low, but Guptill leaped almost instantly to his right and plucked the ball one-handed. It was a take that would have been impressive at gully or backward point, but to move so far, so quickly at slip almost defied belief.

The self-ignored advice

Early in the day Ross Taylor put three men on the leg-side fence despite the cautious progress of Sri Lanka's overnight pair, but Mathews spotted the men in the deep and grew wise to the trap. Almost immediately he called out to his partner at the non-striker's end, urging him not to play the pull. But sure enough, Tim Southee pitched one short next ball, and what should Mathews do but play the pull himself. He had controlled the shot well, but it was "do as I say, not as I do" from Sri Lanka's probable future captain.

The copy cat

Suraj Randiv has had a mediocre series with the ball, but with Sri Lanka in danger of being dismissed before reaching the follow-on target, he seemingly impersonated the man he was batting with. Thilan Samaraweera had also been an offspinner in domestic cricket, and had turned himself into an obdurate batsman in his career's second incarnation. Having taken only one wicket in the first innings, Randiv made 34 from 102 deliveries and contributed in the discipline he wasn't picked for.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Uwaisul on November 28, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    @segga-express: Who said Mathews got out off this pull shot? Actually it went all along the ground & yielded a single. Mathews got out later when trying to defend a Southee delivery as a result of an spectacular catch from Martin Guptil at slips. His dismissal has nothing to do with this pull shot. :)

  • Pad on November 28, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    Mathewas is doing fine... all eyes are on him as future captain, and he played two solid innings to steady the ship, when the team was in trouble. What more can you ask for , specially when you've been watched so much?? What bothers me most is the inconsistant appearance of other so called great new talents of Sri Lanka!

  • Thomas on November 28, 2012, 1:08 GMT

    Karnain - Surely if Matthews had controlled the pull shot to perfection he wouldn't have been caught. To be out off a perfect shot is surely a contradiction of terms. The perfect pull shot would have avoided the fielder.

  • Supun on November 27, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    Maththews is an average player. Just one century after 42 innings is below the par as a batsmen. Bowling figures is even worse as he got only 9 wickets spending 70+ runs per wicket.

  • Nilanka on November 27, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    Randiv is very impressive for a tail-ender. I watching the highlights of Ind vs Eng match and saw no 8 9 from India getting out going for big shots without supporting Ghambir. Tail-enders in the Indian team should learn from Randiv's batting.

  • manjula on November 27, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    Mathews is learning !!! Give him break. There is lot to learn. I think he is progressing well and doing well.

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    This is the third test series in a row where New Zealand have gone in without a warm up match, struggled in the first match, and then competed well in the second match. I wonder if NZC are going to re-think their policy of not playing warm up matches.

  • Uwaisul on November 27, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    I think here the author is bit too harsh on Anjelo Mathews. "do as I say, not as I do" from Sri Lanka's probable future captain. To be fair to Mathews it was a slow bouncer & Mathews did control that pull shot to perfection. But Mathews should learn a thing or two from Samaraweera & Mahela a out building a long innings after making a start. "Write what you think, not what you see". :) lol

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    The Kiwis are getting better all the time. I think they are ru-building well and will be a force to reckon with soon.

  • chamitha on November 27, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    if he is 100% fit, mathews is the man to watch in upcoming aussie tour.

  • No featured comments at the moment.