Mathews thanks batting coach for ending century drought | Daily News

Mathews thanks batting coach for ending century drought

Monday – Former captain Angelo Mathews thanked former team mate and current batting coach Thilan Samaraweera after he had broken the drought of not scoring a Test hundred for two years by making 111 on the third day of the third Test against India at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here on Monday.

“I should thank our batting coach Thilan Samaraweera for reminding me a few things that I have been doing right in the past couple of years or so and which I have not been doing in recent times. Samaraweera has been working very hard with us. Glad that two of us could get a couple of hundreds today,” said a relieved Mathews.

Mathews was without a Test century for two years since scoring 110 against India at the SSC in August 2015 and with Sri Lanka’s batting in shambles in the ongoing series he was under pressure to deliver as the most senior batsmen in the side.

“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. From my debut up to now, I feel the same pressure. But when you get slightly older, you face more pressure,” said Mathews.

But yesterday with the help of his captain Dinesh Chandimal, Mathews laboured his way to his eighth Test hundred sharing a fourth wicket stand of 181 to enable Sri Lanka reach 356-9 by the close.

“I was very pleased and a big relief as well. I knew I was hitting the ball well in the nets. After the Calcutta Test, where I scored a fifty, I was disappointed that I couldn’t capitalize on it,” said Mathews at the end of the day.

“I wanted to badly get that hundred. I was waiting for an opportunity. They were bowling extremely well and we had to grind and work hard. Chandi was batting so well. His knock was a flowing one. He was so fluent. For me not the more fluent innings, but one where I had to work extremely hard. I am glad that I worked hard and ultimately it paid off,” he said.

“I had the confidence within myself as I was hitting the ball well in the nets. Once I had a start, I wanted to capitalize on it. Little bit of luck as well. It all happens in the game and I am pleased to cross three figures. But then again, I could have gone onto get a bigger one. Credit to the Indian bowlers they kept at it. We had to work extremely hard for the runs.

“We know that we are up against the number one ranked team in the world. All four of their bowlers keep coming at you. Virat (Kohli) is rotating them nicely. Pressure is on you all the time. We have to work extremely hard. You don’t get many loose balls. The innings of Chandi and I, we had to grind. We were waiting to score off the loose balls,” Mathews said.

Very few Sri Lankan batsmen have made Test hundreds in India and Mathews became the eighth when he crossed the mark. He was later joined by his captain Chandimal as the ninth. Duleep Mendis, Aravinda de Silva, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Prasanna Jayawardene were the other Lankan batsmen to score Test hundreds before them.

When approaching his century the big giant screen at the stadium flashed Mathews’ previous attempt to score a hundred in India in 2009. He was run out going for his 100th run for an agonising 99.

“Thank to the television crew, I saw it on the big screen when I was in the 90s. I am bit more matured nowadays. I played a bit of cricket. I understood the possibilities. Once again, I didn’t try to think about it too much although to be very frank I wanted to badly get it,” Mathews said.

Following the Mathews-Chandimal liaison the Lankan innings went into a slide when they lost five wickets for 26 runs.

“A bit disappointed with the way we ended up 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 the bowlers to work extremely hard. Towards the end we gave away too many wickets. We have to sort of do well tomorrow and take the grip back by striking early and taking a couple of early wickets which will help us.”

When questioned of the pollution level that made the headlines on Sunday, Mathews said, “It is always the same. Look, it is up to the match referee and the umpires to take a decision. We are here to play cricket and we want to get out to the park. It is pretty much the same or a bit worse probably. You have got to deal with what you have for the next two days.”


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