Why Angelo Mathews Is A Sri Lankan Legend

Angelo Mathews celebrates scoring a century vs New Zealand in a test match 2018
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 18: Angelo Mathews of Sri Lanka celebrates his century with Kusal Mendis during day four of the First Test match in the series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Basin Reserve on December 18, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Angelo Mathews – Sri Lanka’s Finest 

Describe Angelo Mathews in just one word? Superstar!

In this article, we will explore the career of Angelo Mathews. He is statistically the most successful Sri Lankan batsman of his generation

He has been arguably one of the finest Asian test batsmen throughout his eleven-year test career. Angelo Mathews made his test debut on in July 2009 vs Pakistan in Galle.

Angelo Mathews – The Foreign Folk Hero

NUMBERS IN SENA+WI TESTS FOR ASIAN MO BATSMEN SINCE ANGELO’S DEBUT (4-7)
BATSMEN matches(inns) RUNS AVERAGE HS 100s +50s
VIRAT KOHLI 38(72) 3267 46.01 200 12 + 11
AJINKYA RAHANE 31(56) 2205 44.1 147 5 + 13
ANGELO MATHEWS 21(41) 1469 38.65 160 3 + 8
ASAD SHAFIQ 26(48) 1409 29.35 137 3 + 9
MISBAH UL HAQ 22(42) 1357 36.67 114 2+ 11
YOUNIS KHAN 17(31) 1126 37.53 218 3+ 4
MS DHONI 24(42) 1055 27.05 82 0+ 8

 

Angelo Mathews sits third on the list of most test runs outside of Asia for Asian batsman, since he made his test match debut. He has scored a whopping 1469 runs at an average of just below 40. His 160 was mainly responsible for helping Sri Lanka win a test series in England in 2014.

   NUMBERS IN ALL AWAY TESTS FOR ALL MO BATSMEN SINCE HIS DEBUT(2000+ runs) (4-7)
BATSMEN matches(inns) RUNS AVERAGE HS 100s +50s
VIRAT KOHLI 45(83) 3675 45.37 200 14 + 12
ROSS TAYLOR 38(69) 2740 44.19 290 5 + 16
YOUNIS KHAN 32(57) 2667 52.29 218 8 + 7
AJINKYA RAHANE 36(63) 2568 45.85 147  6 + 15
ASAD SHAFIQ 41(72) 2455 34.57 137 7 + 14
MICHAEL CLARKE 35(63) 2409 43.01 187 8 + 7
JOE ROOT 30(55) 2384 47.68 226 5 + 15
MISBAH UL HAQ 39(72) 2342 37.77 114 2 + 22
ANGELO MATHEWS 33(61) 2288 40.85 200 5 + 12
BEN STOKES 32(59) 2259 39.63 258 4 + 10
STEVE SMITH 23(42) 2139 54.84 211 6 + 11

 

Angelo Mathews is the only Sri Lankan batsman to feature on this list. No other Sri Lankan batsman has scored over 2000 test runs away from home since Mathews debuted.

Since Angelo Mathews’s debut in 2009…

Angelo Mathews celebrates scoring a half-century vs New Zealand in 2019
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – AUGUST 23: Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne (R) celebrates after reaching his half century as congratulated by Angelo Mathews during the day two of the Second Test match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium on August 23, 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)
  • 26th in the list of 1st innings runs among all batsmen since his debut, 9th highest among Asians
  • 6th Highest 2nd  innings runs among all Batsmen since his debut(2017),2nd Highest among Asians
  • 6th Highest 3rd innings runs among all Batsmen since his debut(1636), Highest among Asians
  • 3rd Highest 4th innings runs among all Batsmen since his debut(792), Highest among Asians

Runs By Innings

Innings No Inns Runs Avg
First 38 1366 36.92
Second 46 2017 46.91
Third 42 1636 51.13
Fourth 28 962 48.1

 

Like most of the subcontinent batsmen, Angelo Mathews is strong against spin and that can be seen here. He has high averages in the 3rd and 4th innings compared to the 1st and 2nd.

Five of his ten centuries have come in those 3rd and 4th with none of those in the first innings of a test match. His highest 1st innings in his career is 99 vs India way back in 2009, his maiden year in Test Circuit.

Position Inns Avg Runs
4 20 47.19 755
5 67 42.28 2537
6 55 48.02 2161
7 10 50.56 455
8 2 36.5 73

 

Despite having played mostly at 5 or 6, he has got reasonable success at each batting position where he has been deployed for his team.

Country Mat Inns Runs Avg
Australia 3 6 175 29.17
Bangladesh 2 3 134 67
England and Wales 5 9 431 47.89
India 6 11 345 31.36
New Zealand 6 12 503 55.89
Pakistan 2 3 63 21
South Africa 6 12 318 26.5
Sri Lanka 47 82 3106 45.68
United Arab Emirates 6 11 587 73.38
West Indies 1 2 42 21
Zimbabwe 2 3 277 138.5

 

Angelo Mathews – Performances By Year

Angelo Mathews scores the winning run vs New Zealand in a test match
Sri Lankan cricketer Angelo Mathews celebreates after scoring the winning run as New Zealand cricketer Trent Boult (2L) looks on
during the fifth day’s play of the first test cricket match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the Galle International cricket ground, Galle, Sri Lanka.
18 August 2019 (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Mathews has a below-average record in Tests in countries such as Australia, India, South Africa. However, up to now, he has had limited opportunities to improve on it. His brilliant records at home and in countries like England, NZ and UAE make up for that somewhat. Plus, in countries like Pakistan and the West Indies, he just has not played enough to be judged.

Secondly, he has been injury-prone over the last few years which has hampered his progress both as a batsman and as an all-rounder.

Year Inns Avg Runs
2009 11 37.9 379
2010 6 29.6 148
2011 15 47.73 525
2012 16 41.79 585
2013 8 74.6 373
2014 20 77.33 1160
2015 21 42.25 845
2016 13 28.85 375
2017 18 29.11 524
2018 16 49.23 640
2019 7 25 150
2020 3 138.5 277

 

Apart from 2010, Angelo Mathews had a fantastic start to his Test career. However, what has been most disappointing is that post-2015, his averages have fallen.

The 2014 year was the most productive one for him as a captain and as a batsman. He led the Sri Lankan team from the front, with an away series win in England. Sri Lanka is the only Asian team to win a test series in England and South Africa in the 2010s decade.

Awards Won

  • Dialog SLC Cricketer of the Year 2015
  • Dialog SLC Test All-rounder of the Year 2015
  • For his performances in 2014, he was named as captain of the World Test XI by ICC.
  • He was also named in the Test XI of the year 2015 by Cricinfo.

A Struggle Against Some Bowlers

Bowler Total Innings
TIM SOUTHEE (NZ) 7 19
RAVINDRA JADEJA (IND) 6 10
KAGISO RABADA (RSA) 5 10
JAMES ANDERSON(ENG) 5 16
NATHAN LYON (AUS) 5 18

 

Indian allrounder Ravindra Jadeja has been the most successful against Angelo Mathews in terms of dismissals to innings ratio, dismissing him 6 times out of total 10, all of them in 2017.

Also, Read – The Current Best Test Batsmen Across All Conditions

Angelo Mathews – Best Batting Performances

91 & 157 not out vs Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, December 2013/January 2014

Scoring a century vs Pakistan at Abu Dhabi 2013
Sri Lankan batsman Angelo Mathews (L) plays a shot alongside Pakistan wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal during the opening day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 31, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Ishara S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

In a see-saw game, Angelo Mathews hit a career-best 157 not out following his 91 in the first innings. This helped Sri Lanka avert a probable defeat after Pakistan dominated the first three days, a knock which he was then proud of.

Mathews put on 138 for the fifth wicket with Dinesh Chandimal (89) and an unbroken 156 for the sixth wicket with Prasanna Jayawardene (63 not out). This helped pull Sri Lanka out of trouble.

160 vs England, Headingly, Leeds, June 2014

Scoring a century versus England at Leeds in 2014
LEEDS, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Angelo Mathews of Sri Lanka celebrates reaching 100 during day four of the 2nd Investec Test match between England and Sri Lanka at Headingley Cricket Ground on June 23, 2014 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Coming in at 6, with his team only 68 runs ahead of the hosts,  Mathews first paired up with senior batsman Mahela Jayawardene (92 partnership). He then stitched a 149 run partnership Rangana Herath. This was arguably the innings of his life. He helped his team to set up a 350 run target for the hosts. The captain leading from the front, to their first series, win in England since winning a one-off test in 1998.

His knock comprised of 25 fours and a solitary six, with flick being his most productive shot (32 runs).

Sri Lanka ultimately pulled off a dramatic, historic victory when James Anderson was dismissed in the closing moments of the match. This left another centurion Moeen Ali stranded at the other end.

Mathews hit back-to-back centuries against England at Lord’s and Headingley to seal Sri Lanka’s first-ever Test series win in England.

83 & 120  vs New Zealand, Wellington, December 2018

Angelo Mathews bats with Kusal Mendis against New Zealand for the Sri Lankan Cricket Team
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – DECEMBER 18: Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis of Sri Lanka are applauded by New Zealand players as they leave the field at the end of play on day four of the First Test match in the series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Basin Reserve on December 18, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis put on a 246 run partnership batting through an entire day together. This also was part of Sri Lanka’s rescue after the hosts put up a massive 578 in response to SL’s 282.

On an individual part, this was a statement innings. He was axed from the limited-overs team earlier that year on fitness grounds. There was little surprise when he performed push-ups and then flexed his biceps upon scoring the century. But before that, Angelo Mathew let his bat indeed did all the talking.

Some other knocks which have to be mentioned are the 2 centuries vs India (Delhi & Colombo), the century at the home of cricket in the same 2014 Test series.

One of the finest Asian test batsmen of his generation!

 

 

 

 

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