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What We Learned

Starring Angelo Mathews

In which we joy in the six that never was, stopped athletically by… what's his name again?

Angelo Mathews celebrates his early wicket of David Warner, Australia v Sri Lanka, ICC World Twenty20, Trent Bridge, June 8, 2009
Say who? © Associated Press

Wednesday's games didn't matter in the slightest. They were utterly pointless in every respect. And it rained too. But despite the existential futility of day six of the World Twenty20, it all turned out to be rather entertaining. There was Dwayne Bravo smoking boundaries in all directions as the rain tumbled down, Sanath Jayasuriya manfully holding back the tide of age, and more elegant trickery from the sparkly-wristed magician, Tillakaratne Dilshan. When Kevin Pietersen plays the switch hit, it looks like a gorilla trying to do the Twist, but Dilshan turns it into ballet.

Then there was the curious incident of the six that never was. Angelo Mathews' one-man volleyball-style acrobatic display did momentarily flummox the umpires, but after a brief delay they concluded that no six-action had occurred. Yet the chaps in the Sky commentary box were not sure. Nasser Hussain knows which way up to hold a book and he had apparently been scouring the laws for a definitive answer, without success. Had the umpires dropped a clanger? I decided to venture into the arcane and mysterious world of cricket lore myself. After literally five seconds' searching, I located Law 19 on boundaries. Ten seconds later, I had uncovered the incredible truth. The umpires were right. Dan Brown it wasn't.

But out there in cyberspace, the citizens were revolting. Emails pinged into inboxes like angry bees returning to the hive. You would have thought poor Angelo had just punched the Duke of Kent in the face and set fire to the Lord's pavilion. One correspondent to Cricinfo suggested that teams would now take the precaution of stationing players in the stands, ready to leap into action at a moment's notice, barge down the steps, jump over the advertising boards, dodge the stewards and bat a potential six back into play. Whilst keeping both feet in the air. I suppose it would be something for Rob Key to do. "We've been getting a lot of emails on the subject," said Sky's presenter, Ian Ward. Wisely, he didn't read any out.

Mr Mathews was also the source of some multicultural misadventure for our favourite former fast bowler, Ian Bishop. Earlier in the week, he had seemed unsure of his footing when delivering Angelo's second name. So, anxious not to offend the Sri Lankan viewers any further and with Ranil Abeynaike as his co-commentator, he tried to enlist his compadre in a little name clarification. Sensibly, Ranil was having none of it. After much hopeless digging, the former fast bowler gave up. "Why can't they just have simple names, like Bishop," he concluded, putting down his shovel. I wouldn't open your emails for a day or two, Bish.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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