It was only six weeks ago, when on day two at Chester-le-Street, Angelo Mathews walked down the pitch, conferred with a team-mate, and, having been given out, decided to review the decision. He had quite clearly hit the ball, so this was the shambolic head-on collision to cap a veritable pile-up of facepalm reviews. "Does he understand the rules?" people wondered on social media. What the hell is going on?

In Galle, the same captain had his top-scoring batsman overturn a review on day one. He got his best bowler Sri Lanka's second Test hat-trick by reviewing an lbw shout on day two. Then on the third day, Mathews set his offspinner on track for a first career ten-wicket haul with a bat-pad review, and for good measure, got his young left-arm wristspinner a scalp off a ball that spun at the batsman as if it had been shot out of a cannon, from point.

In six weeks, the same man who appeared not to know how caught behinds worked, had become a DRS-savant capable of mentally simulating the ball-tracking for every delivery. In addition, there was the inspired promotion of Kusal Perera to No. 3. There was the fruitful decision to have David Warner face a lot of offspin. There was a breakthrough almost every bowling change, and the close fielders appealed themselves hoarse.

So adept was Mathews at turning everything he touched into a wicket, you almost expected the official who handed him the winner's cheque to look back at splayed stumps and ruefully trudge off.

How on earth has the transformation happened? What the hell is going on?


It was only 13 days ago, ahead of the Pallekele Test, that Mathews said he "[didn't] know what to call himself", when asked if he considered himself an unlucky captain. "We've had so many injuries in the past few months," he said. "At the international level, I can't go and say we can't play because we don't have any bowlers. We need to know how to produce them."

He would have desperately liked Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera to have been fit through the England tour. He would have loved for Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal to be available through this one.

Yet, in Galle, all but four wickets were the work of two bowlers. Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath might conceivably have won this match on their own. Having been required for only two overs on the first evening, seamer Vishwa Fernando would have had a more productive debut Test if he had set up a stall at fine leg and sold ice creams to fans for the rest of the Test. Lakshan Sandakan had spent much of the Pallekele match bamboozling Australian batsmen after coming in for Lakmal, but he produced more grinning high-fives than deliveries in this game.

In a way, Pradeep or Prasad or Chameera or Lakmal would have been counterproductive here, because they would have all had longer spells with the new ball, and that would have delayed Perera and Herath's introduction. Fewer of those sliders - which Australian batsmen appear to believe are the work of paranormal spiritual forces - would have been bowled.

It seems the more Sri Lanka's bowlers are injured, the more effective Sri Lanka's attack becomes.

Which leads you to wonder how on earth is this all happening. What the hell is going on?


It was only two weeks ago that SLC's public profile reached a nadir, for the board's public maligning of Muttiah Muralitharan, and its stipulation that the Test match mace be only privately handed over.

During the Galle Test, though, the opening of the country's largest indoor nets complex - in Pallekele - was announced by the board. This came, of course, with much trumpet blowing. The release claimed that ICC chief executive David Richardson was so impressed by complex, that following a mere inspection of these nets, he immediately took the field and struck a double-century against an attack consisting of Warne, Murali, Hadlee and Marshall (I'm paraphrasing here). According to the statement, the project will also be completed at less than half the initial budgeted cost.

So forget that after two matches, Sri Lanka have a young batsman in Kusal Mendis whom coaches are already speaking of "building a top order around". Forget the turnaround in Mathews' fortunes. Forget the historic Under-19 win in England overnight, or the fact that a spin-bowling succession plan for Herath has now emerged.

SLC is making common-sense, cost-effective decisions that will benefit the island's elite teams, and promote cricket's growth.

What on earth is bloody happening? What the hell is going on?

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando