Angelo Mathews timed out: How Sri Lanka batter made international history at Cricket World Cup

Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews became the first batter to be timed out in international cricket during Monday’s World Cup group-stage match against Bangladesh in Delhi.

There have only been six other instances of a batter being timed out in top-level cricket since the law was introduced.

So what happened, what do the Laws say and what has the reaction been?

Scroll to the end to vote and have your say.

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What happened?

  • Mathews walks to the crease after Sadeera Samarawickrama is dismissed by the second ball of the 25th over.
  • The 36-year-old is standing in his crease and about to take guard when he readjusts his helmet. The chinstrap, which goes around the jaw, breaks as he tries to tighten it.
  • Mathews notices immediately as it snaps in his hand and calls for a new helmet.
  • He speaks to Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, showing him the damage to his helmet and asking for time to be allowed for a replacement to be brought out.
  • Mathews is then seen speaking to umpires Richard Illingworth and Marais Erasmus.
  • Erasmus then speaks to Shakib, potentially to ask if he is appealing for a dismissal.
  • Mathews then speaks to Shakib and the Bangladesh team huddle again before Erasmus tells the Sri Lankan to leave the field.
  • Mathews eventually accepts his fate, after another exchange with Shakib, and trudges off, throwing his broken helmet into the drink boxes on the sidelines as he walks off.
  • He throws more equipment as he walks up the stairs towards the dressing room, from where Sri Lanka captain Kusal Mendis comes down and is seen having an animated conversation with fourth umpire Adrian Holdstock and Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha.
  • Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood is seen speaking to Holdstock later on.
  • During the change of innings, Holdstock said “the batter wasn’t ready within those two minutes even before the strap became an issue for him”, suggesting the helmet delay was not the reason for his unusual dismissal.

What is the Law?

To make matters even more confusing, the International Cricket Council (ICC) applies a different timeframe than the Laws of the game, which are determined by MCC.

The Laws apply to all cricket, except where specific playing conditions are implemented for particular tournaments, leagues or matches.

Law 40.1.1 refers to a batter timed out, and reads: “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 three minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out.”

However, the ICC’s playing conditions for this World Cup read: “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 two minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out.”

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In essence, Mathews only had two minutes, rather than three, to be ready to face his first ball.

BBC Sport has re-watched the incident, frame by frame, and from the moment of the ball landing in the fielder’s hands for the previous wicket to the time Mathews touches the strap on his helmet, it took one minute and 54 seconds, with Mathews unlikely to have been in any position to receive the ball in time before two minutes were up. Others batters before him were ready to face inside 100 seconds.

Samarawickrama was dismissed at 10:19:05 GMT and Mathews started to make his way off the field at 10:25:30, more than five minutes after the previous dismissal.

Mathews could have batted without a helmet – they are not required in matches overseen by the ICC, unlike in England and Wales – but opted not to.

What did Mathews say?

Mathews opted to do the post-match press conference for Sri Lanka and called it “disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh if they want to play cricket like that”.

“I hadn’t done anything wrong. I have two minutes to get to the crease and get myself ready, which I did, and then it was an equipment malfunction,” said Mathews.

“I don’t know where the common sense went. To scoop down to that level there is something drastically wrong.

“The umpires have said to our coaches that they didn’t see my helmet breaking. I was just asking for my helmet there. It was just pure common sense – I’m not talking about ‘Mankading’ [running out a batter at the non-striker’s end] or obstructing the field.

“They have to respect the game itself. We are all ambassadors of this beautiful game, including the umpires. If you don’t respect or use common sense, what more can you ask for?”

Speaking via a translator, Sri Lanka captain Mendis called the incident “disappointing” in his post-match interview.

What did Shakib say?

Bangladesh captain Shakib said there “will be debates” about the dismissal.

“One of our fielders came to me and said if you appeal now he will be out,” explained Shakib. “I appealed and the umpire asked me if I was serious, whether I would take it back or not. I said no. If it is in the rules then it is out and that is exactly what happened.

“It is in the Laws. I don’t know if it it is right or wrong. But I feel like I was at a war so I had to take a decision to make sure my team wins so whatever I needed to do I had to do it.

“Right or wrong there will be debates. But if it is within the rules I don’t mind taking those chances.

“I thought it [the dismissal] helped in a way. It gave me more fight. I won’t deny that.”

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Speaking in his press conference, he added: “I’ve known him [Mathews] since 2006 and we’ve played a lot of cricket against each other so we know each other well.

“He came and asked me if I would withdraw the appeal. I said I understand your situation, it was unfortunate but I don’t want to.

“I’ll be careful that it doesn’t happen to me.”

How did the pundits react?

The reaction from pundits has been mixed.

Former Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien, from the BBC Test Match Special team, said: “I think he was ready to face the ball. He was on the pitch and his equipment failed him. I think there was a mistake there.”

Ex-Bangladesh batter Athar Ali Khan, who was part of the TV coverage, said: “I don’t like what I’m seeing, it is not good for the game. It’s against the spirit of the game, that’s how I feel about it.

“If something goes wrong with the helmet you should be allowed an extra couple of minutes to fix it.

“It is the first time we’re seeing this in cricket, it is not good scenes, I must say that. I would have definitely called him back.”

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja was also commentating on TV and felt the umpires dealt with the situation well.

“To a certain degree it is an onus on cricketers to learn the rules and understand the spirit of the rules,” said Raja.

“Most of us don’t, but the umpires were on top of the situation. It was a tough call to make.

“You’ve got back the Law here and be more understanding of what you’re trying to do and what the Law is.”

Speaking between innings, fourth umpire Holdstock said: “The TV umpire monitors the two minutes and he will then relay the message to the standing umpire. In this instance the batter wasn’t ready within those two minutes even before the strap became an issue for him. The two minutes had already elapsed.

“According to the playing conditions, the fielding captain requested/initiated to the standing umpire that he wanted to appeal for timed out.

“As a batsman you need to make sure all your equipment is in place. You have to be ready to receive the ball in two minutes, not just take your guard.”

When were the other instances?

This is the seventh instance of the Law being used, but the first in international and limited-overs cricket, as all previous occasions came in domestic first-class cricket.

Timed out dismissals in cricketWhoGameWhenWhyAndrew Jordaan Eastern Province v Transvaal at Port Elizabeth 1987-88Was not out overnight but delayed getting to ground because of floodsHemulal YadavTripura v Orissa at Cuttack1997-98 Talking to team manager and did not attempt to reach creaseVasbert Drakes Border v Free State at East London2002Was still flying from the West IndiesAJ HarrisNottinghamshire v Durham UCCE at Nottingham2003Was suffering with a groin injury and was unable to move quicklyRyan AustinCombined Campuses and Colleges v Windward Islands at Kingstown, St Vincent2013-14No obvious reasonCharles KunjeMatabeleland Tuskers v Mountaineers at Bulawayo2017-18Unknown

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