Selfish Mathews – lowest SR again in 360+ Chase – Lakmal is a Better Leader for Odi/Tests

SL is sinking further under self-centered Mathews. His primary concern is only about his personal scores & averages (like Chandimal). This fact was proved yet again in the crucial 3rd ODI… scratching 32 runs (42 balls) @ pathetic 76 SR. This is the LOWEST Strike Rate in the WHOLE MATCH (both sides) from any batter who had faced 15 balls or more. Just imagine…. facing a massive 360+ target, which required a minimum of 120 SR… coming in the middle order to face the less threatening (less effective pace attack)  from the old ball and going at such a low SR facing 40+ balls to score 32 runs from such an experienced player leading the side cannot be targeting the team's goal of making 360 runs. Mathews' batting displayed again his pure selfish play!

Even the bowler Akila Dhananjaya coming at No8, scored a much more aggressive 37 runs from 42 balls @ almost 90 SR..! Under such a  self-centered leader Mathews, SL will certainly sink further.

Not only that after winning the toss in all 3 ODIs, he ludicrously went against the statistical odds in winning probability on that ground at Dambulla (D & D/N) electing to bat first, when the record says, side chasing had won much more matches overall. The pitch is bowler friendly. Seamers benefit in the morning because of the high water table and heavy sweating, but Mathews elected to bat first in the day game, passing the fullest advantage to the mighty South African Pace attack to extract the maximum benefit in that morning session, as we seen in that match… loosing first 5 wkts for 36 runs withing first 8 overs (except Tharanga got run out). At Dambulla Spinners benefit in the afternoon when the pitch can crumble, but again Mathews elected to bat first in the day/night, throwing away the advantage for SL spinners & make it difficult for them to bowl in the night session with dew.  At Pallekale day game (only the 2nd day match ever played there) also he put SA in to bat on a perfect batting (docile) strip to whack 360+ starting with a blistering start, going at near 7 runs per over collecting 65 runs in first 10 overs!  That sealed the series there itself.

In the 2nd ODI Mathews made 79 runs from 111 balls going at horrible 71 SR trying hard to remain unbeaten at the end (which boosted his average), without rotating the strike & putting everyone else in pressure. Even the Commentators were saying that because of his eccentric batting approach SL has a real threat of getting more run outs & loosing lots of runs possible from quick singles & twos (at least in 3 occasions the partner had to turn back after running half way, due to unresponsive Mathews). Even in the final 50th over Mathews had 3 dot balls & just a single from 5 balls that he faced, ruining SL's chance of topping 250 runs. That clearly proved his intention. He was more concerned to remain unbeaten rather than trying to get maximum runs for SL, even in the final over!  

Here are some of the comments came up from individuals during  Cricinfo's Commentary, closer to the end of SL's inning in that match :

"Matthews may end up playing a 'good' innings, but however especially at the start of his innings he was so slow, that put pressure in dickwella too, and this is the attitude behind Sri lanka struggling to get 250 while England get 480"

"Come'on people, enough of backing Mathews, His SR since 2016 shows how much he struggles to rotate the strike. He should have taken the responsibility of playing the shots. faced almost 100 deliveries and still need time to settle? "

Suranga Lakmal would be a much better interactive choice than Chandimal or Mathews to lead the side in Tests/Odis, because he had already proved his success as a skipper winning all 3 consecutive Tests played under him convincingly Vs WI & SA. Certainly he knows the art of winning matches utilizing the conditions to the max.!


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