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Cricket world stunned by controversial Angelo Mathews dismissal

Cricket World Cup news

Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews on Monday became the first batter to be timed out in international cricket, with the incident taking place during his side’s three-wicket loss to Bangladesh in the 2023 Cricket World Cup in New Delhi, India.

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bowl in match 38 of the tournament, striking early before Sri Lanka recovered to be three wickets down for 135 runs.

In the 25th over, the Lankans lost their fourth wicket when Sadeera Samarawickrama was caught in the outfield on the leg side, which brought Mathews to the batting crease.

The former Sri Lankan captain strode to the middle of the field and prepared to face his first ball before trying to adjust his helmet, ultimately breaking the chin strip.

The veteran all-rounder immediately gestured to the Sri Lankan dug-out for a new helmet before appearing to explain the issue to standing umpire Marais Erasmus and Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan.

Before the explanation had been provided, Shakib appeared to have a conversation with Erasmus where it was first suggested an appeal for Mathews to be dismissed as timed out was made.

Several minutes passed, and conversations between Mathews, Erasmus, and Shakib took place before the Sri Lankan batter was instructed to leave the field timed out.

MCC law 40.1 states: “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 3 minutes of the dismissal or retirement.”

Following Mathews’ dismissal, confusion reigned among members of the broadcast team before it was confirmed that ICC playing conditions state the batter must be “ready to receive the next ball within 2 minutes of the dismissal”.

Fourth umpire Adrian Holdstock spoke to the media after the match and reinforced that ICC playing conditions supersede the MCC laws.

He also declared that Mathews “wasn’t ready to receive the ball, within those two minutes, even before the strap became an issue for him”.

Mathews was visibly angered by the decision and had several heated discussions with Sri Lankan team staff before entering the dressing room.

Speaking after the game, Shakib confirmed it was a Bangladeshi teammate who suggested the appeal.

“One of our fielders came to me and said, ‘If you appeal now, he will be out, if you are serious’,” he said.

“Then I appealed and the umpire asked me whether I was serious and whether I was going to take it back or not.

“I said no – if it is in the rule, if it’s out, I [won’t] take it back.

“It is in the laws. I don’t know if it is right or wrong. But I felt like I was at war.

“I had to take decision to make sure my team wins and whatever I had to do, I had to do.

“Right or wrong – there will be debates. But if it’s in the rules, I don’t mind taking those chances.”

The Bangladesh captain’s decision not to withdraw his appeal has raised questions concerning the ‘spirit of cricket’ – a hot topic in the sport since Australia’s controversy-laden tour of England for the 2023 Ashes series.

Bangladesh went on to win the game, with Shakib taking two wickets and scoring 82 runs in a best-on-ground performance.

With one game each to play, both teams are now out of the running to reach the semifinals.

Unbeaten India are -120.48 favourites to win the tournament, with Australia (+320) and South Africa (+350) tussling over the second line of betting with the top cricket bookmakers.

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