Do you remember the famous 1 wicket win Sri Lanka pulled off at the MCG in 2010? It’s widely seen as among the greatest ODI chases of all time. Angelo Mathews, along with Lasith Malinga, added 132 runs for the ninth wicket to take Sri Lanka home with just one wicket to spare. It was a kind of an inning that, one might say, presented us the ‘Anchor Man’ Mathews.
We all know Angelo can stay at the crease for long periods of time and slowly change the game but also can bowl at a good pace with the hint of swing he always gets with the new ball. We all must remember about the captaincy issues later in his career or how he has been in and out of the team.
But one reckons, you may have forgotten about the year 2014 when Sri Lanka were unbeatable and Mathews lead them inspirationally. That he hit back-to-back centuries at Lord’s and Headingley taking Sri Lanka to their first-ever Test series win in England were about as uplifting to the fan from the Island nation as is the sight of water in a barren desert.
The recent double hundred was just a topping to a great career that is still gonna go to great heights, one hopes. But
Angelo Mathews made his international debut in an ODI in 2008. Then in 2009, he was given his Test cap and also made his T20I debut. Angelo Mathews made a quick impact on the international arena by scoring a fifty in his third ODI and just after a few matches he again made a 51 against New Zeland helping Sri Lanka win the game.
In the very next match, he took his career-best ODI figures of 6-20 against India, steadily cementing his place in the ODI side as an All-rounder. He was also performing well for the T20I team, making his place in Sri Lankan squad for the 2009 T20I World Cup and also scored an unbeaten 35 in just 24 balls to take Srilanka to a respectable total. Mathews was also performing well in Tests, scoring runs at 46 and also chipping up a few wickets whenever given the ball. By the end of 2009, Mathews was a regular member of all the three formats and was also picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
Mathews kept making vital contributions at with both bat and ball over a couple of years also hitting his maiden test hundred against Australia in 2011 and was also a part of the 2010 T20 and 2011 ODI World Cups. He was again instrumental in the 2012 T20 World Cup final against West Indies giving away just 11 runs of his four overs and also took a wicket in the very first over. After the loss in 2012 final, Mahela Jayawardene stepped down as the T20I captain and just after a few weeks, Mathews was made the new T20I captain. Which was soon would be a blessing for both Angelo and Sri Lanka Cricket. Soon after that Mathews was made the Captain in all formats.
2014 for Mathews was exceptional for his captaincy, he led his side from the to the first-ever Test series win on English soil, where he scored runs at an average of 86. He was also a part of the 2014 T20 World Cup squad which Sri Lanka went on to win. Also, 2014 was the same year when led Sri Lanka to the Aisa Cup title and also was the most successful ODI captain that year with a winning percentage of almost 63. But the following years were not so great for the all-rounder, but he had a good ODI World Cup in 2015 and took Sri Lanka to the quarters. Also under his captaincy, Sri Lanka whitewashed Australia, the number 1 ranked test team at that time at home in 2016.
But when the trio of Dilshan, Jayawardene, and Sangakara had finally retired and injury problems to Lasith Malinga meant young players had to step up. After the absence of the trio, Sri Lanka has really struggled to find a fixed playing eleven. Mathews has been one of the pillars holding Sri Lanka Cricket. Mathews along with Malinga has always stepped up to lead the team in any way possible.
He has been leading the side for almost 5 years now, even when he’s not the captain, Mathews is their go-to man. Sri Lanka is still capable to beat any side on their day as they did in the 2019 ODI world cup where they defeated the favorites and eventual winners England. They just need a few consistent performers and a good leader which they can easily find in Angelo who carriers such vast experience under his belt.
He was also called up to the World Cup owing to vast experience. Although he struggled to find form in the first few matches, n the match against England, we could again see ‘the anchor’ Mathews rescuing Sri Lanka and scoring an unbeaten 85 adding those valuable runs with the tail taking the total to 232.
Post-2017, Mathews has struggled to find the form with both bat and his captaincy, after losing an ODI series to Zimbabwe he stepped down as captain and since then he’s been in and out of the team for short periods. But since the match-winning innings, he played against England in the WC. Angelo Mathews is looking stronger than ever as he averaged in ODIs around 50 with the bat in 2019 and he just scored his first double hundred in tests against Zimbabwe in the recently concluded test.
He’s contributing to the team of what is expected from him again. I’m sure there’s a lot more we are gonna see of this great all-rounder.