Sri Lanka’s World Cup clash with Bangladesh has featured one of the most extraordinary dramas in recent sporting memory, with veteran Angelo Mathews shockingly timed out without facing a ball.
It’s the first such dismissal ever recorded in international cricket, and is rarely seen at any level of the game.
With Sri Lanka 4/135 midway through the 24th over of their innings following the loss of Sadeera Samarawickrama and needing to win to keep their faint hopes of a semi-final berth alive, controversy erupted when Mathews arrived at the wicket, only to complain of a faulty helmet strap and immediately seek a replacement.
Following a Bangladesh appeal led by captain Shakib Al Hasan, however, umpires Marais Erasmus and Richard lllingworth ruled Mathews out as he was not ready to face up within two minutes of the previous wicket, leading to a furious argument between the 36-year old and teammate Charith Asalanka and the two officials.
A furious Mathews was given his marching orders to leave Sri Lanka at 5/135 and in dire straits. He threw the helmet in question away in disgust as he crossed the boundary.
The ICC issued a statement to say the umpires made the right call.
“As he signalled to the dressing room for a new helmet, Shakib and the Bangladesh team appealed for a ‘timed out’ dismissal and the umpires upheld the appeal much to Mathews’ dismay. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 playing conditions pertaining to “timed out” dismissals reads thus:
“40.1.1 After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless Time has been called, be ready to receive the ball, or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within 2 minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out.“
Pakistan legend Waqar Younis was on commentary at the time and he criticised Bangladesh for not allowing Mathews to get his new helmet.
“I don’t like what I’m seeing,” the former skipper said. “It’s not really good for the game.
“It’s such a big moment in this game. It’s against the spirit of the game, that’s what I feel about this because he (Shakib) shouldn’t have been appealing because he (Mathews) was on the field.
“If something was wrong with the helmet you should be allowed to fix it. Two or three extra minutes is not going to make any difference.”
His fellow former Pakistan skipper Ramiz Raja praised the umpires for applying the laws of the game that dictate that it was up to Mathews to ensure he was ready to face his first delivery.
“It was a tough call to make,” he said. “Smart cricket from Bangladesh really because they were up against the over rate, lagging behind.”
Former Zimbabwean seamer Pommie Mbangwe said Bangladesh were well within their rights.
“He has no case, according to the regulations, according to the law so they send him on his way and obviously he’s livid,” he said.
“There’ll be those who say that it’s distasteful, it’s not right – you want to beat the guy by getting him out, you don’t want to get the wicket this way. There are responsibilities on either side. You as the fielding side want to get your wickets the right way. You as the batting side, be ready. You can’t then be OK to accept that they’re late bowling their overs later in the game when they’re hampered by one more fielder in the circle.
“It works both ways.”
Asalanka went on to amass a superb innings of 108 from 105 deliveries as Sri Lanka recovered to post 279 with Dhananjaya de Silva (34 off 36) and Maheesh Theekshana (22 off 31) helping the lower-order recovery.