India vs Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews used to pressure from a young age
Angelo Mathews, who hadn’t hit a hundred since August 2015 before today’s ton vs India, said that he is used to pressure since the time he made his international debut for Sri Lanka.india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 04, 2017 22:58 IST
Angelo Mathews, hit by injuries and inconsistent form over the last one- and-half years, has been criticised for not putting enough runs for his side in this series. (IND v SL Day 3 report)
The second Test in Nagpur, where he threw his wicket away in the second innings as the visitors lost by an innings and 239 runs, summed up his recent poor run.(IND v SL Day 3 highlights) (IND v SL Day 3 full scorecard)
However, the former Sri Lanka captain finally got a big one after he tucked a length ball from Ishant Sharma to backward square-leg for a single to get to three figures. This was his third century against India and his first since August 2015.
His 111, through which he knitted a 181-run partnership with skipper Dinesh Chandimal, led a Sri Lankan fightback on the third day at Ferozeshah Kotla.
“If you take the last few years, I have been in and out of the side due to injuries. Inconsistency of not being in the team can affect you, but no excuses. It is what it is and we are here to do a job. Not a single game where I have played without any pressure,” Mathews told journalists on Monday.
“From my debut up to now, I feel the same pressure.”
“But when you get slightly older, you face more pressure. I should thank our batting coach Thilan Samaraweera for reminding me of a few things I had been doing right in the past which I have been not doing in recent times. Samaraweera has been working very hard with us.”
On Sri Lanka’s last tour of India in 2009, Mathews – who registered his first hundred in India – was run out for 99 in the third Test in Mumbai, which the hosts won by an innings and 24 runs.
Asked what was going through his mind on Monday when he was in the 90s, Mathews said: “Thanks to the television crew, I saw it on the big screen when I was in my 90s. I am a bit more mature nowadays. I’ve played a bit of cricket. I understood the possibilities. Once again, I didn’t try to think too much about it.
“Although to be very frank, I wanted to get that hundred badly. I was waiting for an opportunity. They were bowling extremely well. We had to grind, work hard.”
Mathews admitted that the batting collapse late on Day 3 have hurt Sri Lanka’s chances.
The visitors were coasting at 317/4 before India bowlers, led by R Ashwin, hit back to reduce them to 356/9 at stumps.
“Bit disappointed with the way we ended the day’s play. We could have ended up with a few more wickets in hand. Especially going into the fourth day, we had made their bowlers work extremely hard. We have to do well tomorrow and take the grip back by taking a couple of early wickets.”
Mathews is Sri Lanka’s biggest player in the era after the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. But captaincy pressure as well as the rigours of bowling and batting, have weighed him down mentally and physically.
He gave up captaincy after a shock one-day series loss at home to Zimbabwe and the team has struggled since. Mathews will hope his determined knock on Monday motivates Sri Lanka to find their way back.