Angelo Mathews

Angelo Mathews

Player Bio

Angelo Mathews, a name synonymous with Sri Lankan cricket, stands as one of the island nation's most prized assets in the sport. Angelo Davis Mathews, who was born in Colombo on June 2, 1987, has been a shining example of consistency and resiliency for the Sri Lankan team. With a robust batting technique, a nagging consistency with the ball, and exceptional athleticism in the field, Mathews has carved a niche for himself in the annals of cricketing history. However, his journey was not without its challenges. Persistent injuries and occasional standoffs with the Sri Lankan cricket board sometimes overshadowed his immense talent. Yet, through it all, Mathews' imperturbable temperament and dedication to the game have made him an indispensable asset, especially in limited-overs cricket.

Early Life and Entry into Cricket

Hailing from Colombo, Mathews' early education was at St. Joseph's College, a school known for producing cricketing talents. His cricketing journey began with ambitions of becoming a genuine all-rounder.  His early days in cricket saw him represent teams like Basnahira Greens, Basnahira North, and the Sri Lanka Under-19s, showcasing his potential and catching the eyes of national selectors.

Mathews' international debut came in 2008, marking the beginning of a journey filled with milestones and memorable performances. One of his early notable feats was during a Test match against Pakistan in December 2013 in Abu Dhabi. Mathews displayed his batting skills by batting for seven and a half hours to reach an undefeated 157, in addition to scoring 91 in the first innings, in order to preserve the Test for his side. Mathews made 91 in the first innings. 

His all-round skills soon became indispensable for the Sri Lankan side. Mathews' impact on the team was truly remarkable, as evident from the three changes made to the XI when he suffered a quad injury in the 2011 World Cup semi-final. It is a testament to the balance he single-handedly brought to the team.

Mathews' early career was not just about his individual performances but also about his ability to adapt and evolve. From aiming to be a genuine all-rounder to prioritising his batting, Mathews' journey is a testament to his versatility and commitment to Sri Lankan cricket.

Rise in International Cricket

Angelo Mathews began his international journey in late 2008, with aspirations of becoming a genuine all-rounder. However, as his career progressed, he shifted his focus primarily to his batting, especially in the Test format, to manage his workload and avoid injuries. Despite this, he continued to play as a batting all-rounder in limited-overs cricket, showcasing his versatility. His impressive strike rate of 84.06 made him a formidable force during the final overs of the Sri Lankan innings.

Mathews showcased his talent at an early stage, making his international debut in an ODI against Zimbabwe in November 2008 and soon after playing his first Test match against Pakistan in July 2009. His Test debut was significant, marking the beginning of several other players' careers, including the likes of Mohammad Amir and Saeed Ajmal. Mathews' maiden Test half-century came during the third Test of the series against Pakistan, played at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo. His first Test century was against Australia in September 2011 at the same venue.

While Mathews had mixed performances in countries like South Africa and India, he shone exceptionally well at home and in nations like England and the UAE. Two of his notable centuries were scored in England against a formidable pace attack consisting of James Anderson and Stuart Broad during the 2014 Sri Lanka tour of England and Ireland. His captaincy period also saw him average an impressive 86.62 in 13 matches.

Captaincy and Leadership

Angelo Mathews made history in February 2013 by becoming the youngest-ever Test captain of Sri Lanka at just 25 years old.This was after he had been groomed for the role for two years. Under his leadership, Sri Lanka achieved a monumental Test series win in England in 2014. His highest Test score, a marathon 200 off 428 balls, was scored against Zimbabwe in 2020.

After the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, when Kumar Sangakkara stepped down as the ODI captain, Mathews was widely considered to be the next leader for Sri Lanka in limited-overs cricket. However, short stints of leadership by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene followed. By February 2013, Mathews was named as the captain for both ODI and Test formats, succeeding Jayawardene.

Under Mathews' leadership, Sri Lanka achieved several notable victories. They whitewashed Australia, who were then the number one Test side, in 2016. This was only the second time Sri Lanka managed to whitewash a major Test-playing nation. However, a series loss at home to Zimbabwe in 2017 was a low point for Mathews, leading him to step down from captaincy across all formats.

Memorable Performances and Milestones

Throughout his illustrious career, Mathews has had several standout performances. One of the most memorable was his back-to-back Test centuries against England at Lord's and Headingley, which sealed Sri Lanka's first-ever Test series win in England. Additionally, under his leadership, Sri Lanka won the ODI series against England 3-2.

Mathews also holds the record, alongside Lasith Malinga, for the highest ninth-wicket partnership in ODI history, a remarkable 132 runs. Another highlight was his fastest fifty by a Sri Lankan in World Cups, achieved off just 20 balls, which included five sixes and a four.

In terms of milestones, Mathews became the fourth Sri Lankan all-rounder to achieve 100 ODI wickets while scoring more than 3000 ODI runs. His 100th ODI wicket was taken in July 2015. Furthermore, in July 2022, Mathews played in his 100th Test match for Sri Lanka, marking a significant achievement in his cricketing journey.

Challenges and Comebacks

Angelo Mathews' journey in international cricket has been a roller-coaster ride, marked by numerous highs and lows. One of the most significant challenges he faced was persistent injuries, which often sidelined him from crucial matches and series. These injuries not only affected his playing time but also his form and confidence.

However, Mathews' resilience and determination always shone through. He made a statement by batting for nearly seven hours to salvage the Wellington Test match in December 2018, which came after he was omitted from the one-day squad in 2018, primarily for his sprinting between the wickets. His celebration after reaching his hundred, where he dropped onto the pitch to do ten push-ups and then flexed his biceps, was a clear message to his critics and those who doubted his fitness levels. 

Another setback came when he tore a hamstring in the subsequent Test, ruling him out for four months. Yet, Mathews' spirit remained unbroken. In the 2019 World Cup, despite not having bowled for eight months prior, he took a wicket off his first ball.

Legacy and Impact on Sri Lankan Cricket

Angelo Mathews will undoubtedly be remembered as one of Sri Lanka's cricketing greats. His contributions to the team, both as a player and a leader, have been invaluable. Mathews' all-round skills, especially in limited-overs cricket, have been indispensable for the team. His ability to single-handedly deliver balance to the side was evident when his injury in the 2011 World Cup semi-final forced three changes to the XI that played in the final.

His leadership also brought several notable victories for Sri Lanka, including the Test series win in England in 2014 and the whitewash of Australia in 2016. Despite facing criticism and challenges, Mathews always led from the front, showcasing his commitment and dedication to Sri Lankan cricket.

Furthermore, Mathews accomplished an incredible feat in 2022, reaching the remarkable milestone of playing 100 Test matches. He came very close to scoring a double century, unfortunately being dismissed for 199, a rare and difficult achievement in Test cricket.This achievement solidified his place among the legends of Sri Lankan cricket.

Angelo Mathews' journey in international cricket is a testament to his talent, determination, and resilience. From his early days in Colombo to becoming one of Sri Lanka's most prized assets in cricket, Mathews has faced numerous challenges but has always emerged stronger. His legacy in Sri Lankan cricket is marked by his invaluable contributions as a player and a leader. As he reached significant milestones in his career, Mathews continued to inspire the next generation of cricketers, showcasing the spirit of never giving up and always striving for excellence. His story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide, reminding them of the importance of perseverance, dedication, and passion for the game.

Who is Angelo Mathews?
Angelo Mathews is a renowned Sri Lankan cricketer known for his all-round skills in batting, bowling, and exceptional fielding. He has served as the captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team across various formats.
When did Angelo Mathews make his international debut?
Angelo Mathews made his international debut in an ODI against Zimbabwe in November 2008.
What are some of Angelo Mathews' significant achievements?
Mathews has numerous achievements, including leading Sri Lanka to a Test series win in England in 2014, scoring back-to-back centuries against England, and reaching the milestone of playing 100 Test matches for Sri Lanka.
Has Angelo Mathews played in any T20 leagues?
Yes, Angelo Mathews has participated in various T20 leagues, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he played for teams like Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders.
What challenges did Angelo Mathews face in his career?
Mathews faced several challenges, including persistent injuries and occasional standoffs with the Sri Lankan cricket board. Despite these setbacks, he made notable comebacks, showcasing his resilience and dedication to the game.