Angelo Mathews is timed out as Bangladesh get their second win of the World Cup

Notes on the Shakib-Shanto partnership, Madushanka, Mendis and Nissanka.

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Shakib Al Hasan turns the deadest rubber into the spiciest match of this tournament by initiating a timed out that has more twists and turns than your favourite telenovela. Plus, he also made runs as Bangladesh won their second game after almost collapsing at the end.

Mathews runs out of time: The chin strap that changed cricket (JK)

Laughter and then concern. That is what we see on Angelo Mathews’ face as he learns he is the first player in an international match to be given timed out.

But the real question is, should he have been given out?

When Angelo Mathews’ helmet breaks, you can see something is wrong, and then he checks the strap, and it comes off.

This is the moment that Shakib al Hasan says, he has taken too long. And appeals for timed out. Marais Erasmus is trying to ask if he really wants to do this.

Kind of wild that Mathews was late to this World Cup, and then also late to the crease. But to understand if he should have been out, then you need to know about the law.

In 1775 the first laws printed said an umpire should allow a batter two minutes to come to the crease. However, it was not an actual dismissal type.

So when Surrey faced Sussex at Hove in 1911, the London side was well on top with  'Razor' Smith due to bat, he was late. This tardiness confused the umpires. The laws were not explicit on handling a delay beyond the prescribed two-minute limit. In the end, the Sussex captain allowed him to bat, but this is when the laws should have been made clearer.

Eight years later Sussex were in another match where something similar happened. Harold Heygate was needed to bat in the fourth innings but had no time to change, resulting in being ruled 'out, absent'. Why absent and not timed out, well the law didn’t actually exist until 1980.

Cricket lived in a silly limbo for almost 70 years. It made its debut in a first-class match when Hemulal Yadav in 1997-98. Yadav had sat outside the ropes having a chat to the team manager, making no effort to enter the field. But actually, another game was given first-class status later, so Andrew Jordaan became the first player to be timed out. Why? Because there was flooding between him and the ground.

So there are so many great stories of timed out like this. AJ Harris was suffering from a groin injury and took too long to make it out to the middle. This is why Nathan Lyon stood in the Long Room at Lord’s in the Ashes earlier this year. But my favourite has always been Vasbert Drakes.

In September 2002, Border faced Free State in East London. Winning the toss, Border chose to bat. They had selected Drakes, but there was an issue. Drakes had just finished competing in the ICC Champions Trophy 2002 in Sri Lanka for the West Indies and was flying from Colombo to East London. Not a straightforward trip. One of his flights was delayed. They pushed him down the order, but it didn’t matter. He was timed out while still in mid-air. Border lost the game by an innings and 41 runs.

The point is, that Angelo Mathews has always lived in a cricket world with this law. But it also almost never happens. So while he should have known better, you can see he was laughing when it was first mentioned to him, because the idea of being tirmed out had never occurred to him.

But what is the law? 40.1 says that the incoming batter must be ready to receive the ball after three minutes, The playing conditions for this World Cup say two minutes.

But you might be wondering why it exists, other than the fact it would be annoying if batters turned up late all the time. Timed out as basically to stop time wasting. We have seen players in dying light take an age to get to the crease in order to take time out of the game.

One of my favourite often-forgotten moments in the Australia-India SCG Test of 2008 that changed cricket - and my career - was when Ishant Sharma came out to bat at the end but brought two right-handed gloves with him. This could be a tailender being an idiot, or it could have been a smart move to delay time. Players do that repeatedly, so I am shocked that we haven’t seen more timed-outs.

Oh, and in this same innings, there was another weird dismissal. In fact, the very next one. Dhanajaya de Silva comes down the wicket and misses one, and Mushrafiqur Rahim stumps him. Although, he doesn’t. He actually fumbles it at first. DDS could have got back into his ground. But he assumed he was out, and so when Mushfiqur takes the stump out of the ground, he is standing right near the crease. Sri Lanka lost two wickets in a row, one because a player took too long to get to the middle, and then also because another stood next to his crease instead of just putting his bat down.

What I find remarkable about the timed-out dismissal, is this happened at a World Cup game, where the result didn’t matter, is kind of wild. Shakib suggests he was in a war mentality, quite the comment for a dead rubber.

But should Angelo Mathews have been out? Let us talk about the helmet, he still could have worn it without a strap, but that is not how they are designed. Or faced the ball without one, as it was a spinner. But in a sport where we have concussion substitutes, he should be able to get a replacement.

He also could have told the captain or umpires that this was an issue. But he doesn’t do that, he turns to get a new one. The umpires had no idea the helmet had broken, they just saw him disappear.

Mathews talked a lot about common sense in his press conference but missed the fact that he didn’t tell the umpires what was happening.

It now appears the first conversation about this was when he was given out, by that point, there had been a huge delay.

This helmet part doesn’t really change the decision. Because as per the laws he has to be ready to receive the delivery at the two-minute mark, and he certainly wasn’t.

So when he is given out, the ICC bring out the fourth official Richard Holdstock to explain what happened. Ian Bishop is very clear in his questioning, and Holdstock says that two minutes was up before the helmet broke.

At this point is a spirit of cricket discussion. Boring, but simple. The laws say it was out, and the spirit says, well, I asked it. Using an Ouija board (made by the same company that makes Monopoly) to consult the spirit of cricket, its official comment was “that two minutes is ample time to face up for the next ball”.

I went off to try to verify the two minutes, but couldn’t find the full tape, so I just assumed that there was no way the ICC would release a statement they weren’t sure about. Especially knowing people could verify it. They had already cleared the air.

But then Star did the timings, and wait a minute. What is going on here? Mathews is at his crease at 1:50. Erasmus is fixing the bails, the non-striker is dawdling, and Shakib is moving the field. So the ICC were wrong.

One thing on this, wouldn’t it be hard for the ICC to actually check this? Their system was probably not set up to work it out. We know the third umpire checks the time when a wicket goes, but he wasn’t thinking about checking the exact time when the helmet broke. No one even knew that at the time. This is a procedural error that no one thought to worry about because this has never happened before.

However you can see Mathews has his hand on his helmet, but this is clearly where he broke the strap. Crucially he never gets into a batting stance, so by the letter of the law or playing condition he never is ready to receive the ball.

The helmet is the reason this happened, even if Mathews was five seconds late (which he wasn't). Because it is waiting for the new helmet that annoys Bangladesh. That is when a fielder tells a ticking Shakib about the law, and they appeal.

This is probably a communication issue, if he walked down the wicket and told Erasmus that his helmet had broken at the time, then Erasmus would have been part of the discussion earlier and may have factored this in.

But while Mathews was wrong to turn around, this is like the innocent person not knowing he would need an alibi until the police questioned him. How you would think you’d be timed out if no one in international cricket had ever been before?

But there is something else here that bothers me. Mathews’ carelessness and Shakib’s anger played a part. But I think the main reason Erasmus gives his out, is because he didn’t know before the helmet had broken, and that he thought the two minutes had elapsed before the helmet broke anyway. Remember Erasmus repeatedly tried to get Shakib to withdraw it. So he thought it was out under the laws.

And he was right, in either situation, if the helmet had or hadn’t broken doesn’t matter. When the two minutes were up, Mathews had walked away and was not ready to receive the ball. He hadn’t told the umpires why, and only did so after. I don’t blame Mathews, but this is what happened.

So to answer the original question, Mathews was not ready to receive the ball in two minutes and hadn’t told the umpires why - until he was given out. Could they have taken his word for it and reevaluated, maybe? But he was out by that point.

Also, is ready to receive the ball in your batting position tapping the bat, or standing at the crease? Because Mathews was at the crease before Erasmus was even ready. That seems grey looking at the law.

I would be pissed off if I was the fourth umpire Holdstock, who had to give a comment on something he didn’t have anything to do with, and then was given bad info. Erasmus must be confused about the two minutes he was told about. Shakib won the game and loves the drama. You might ask why he was ticing, but Shakib is like that.

But Mathews should feel annoyed. Because every five matches I have a batter who takes longer to get out than they should. It happens on almost every hat trick. But no one ever appeals, until now.

The good news for him is, he will be remembered forever for this one moment. The chin strap that changed cricket.

Shakib & Shanto (JK)

This was a wicket that was hard to get to. You had to be on it, and I think we saw two major partnerships and lots of wickets around that. So Shakib - who probably felt like he had to - batted really well with Shanto to score at better than a run a ball and set up the win.

But let us talk about the wonder-filled Shanto, who bookended his World Cup with two quality knocks, and in the middle batted like Shanto used to. In one World Cup, we have seen the best and worst of Shanto. Which is peak Shanto.

He did bat incredibly well, he is a delight when he can stay in for more than 15 minutes.

Bangladesh’s bowling (JK)

They did chip away with wickets throughout the innings, despite a couple of randoms. A very even bowling performance, apart from Tanzim. He is just 21 - he took 3 wickets but went for 8 runs an over. But those wickets probably did mean more in the context of this game.

Madushanka is Geoff Allott (JK)

In the 1999 World Cup, the leading wicket-takers were Shane Warne and Geoff Allott. One was an Australian legspinner known everywhere, and the other a left-armer that most Kiwi fans wouldn’t recognise.

The two leading wicket-takers at this World Cup are Zampa and Madushanka. I like this. But the southpaw Sri Lankan is having a really good tournament. In the last few games, I have liked him well beyond the new ball - which is clearly his main thing.

The consistency of his striking is also really good. This isn’t a couple of hauls, he has taken a few wickets in lots of matches.

Kusal Mendis’ drop in form (SAK)

Kusal Mendis started the tournament with a couple of mind-boggling innings. But his real good run of form started in the Asia Cup, where he had a couple of vital 90s to take Sri Lanka to the semi-finals. So he started okay in the qualifiers, had a great stretch of 8 innings where he could do no wrong, and is again going through a slump. This is very normal. Commentators suggested that captaincy may have played a part in this, but there isn’t a conclusive way for me to tell without actually being in the dressing room.

Pathum Nissanka is one of the best U-25 batters of this WC (SAK)

I thought Pathum Nissanka looked in superb touch today. He played some terrific drives and punches early on despite Perera’s early wicket and Mendis’ struggle. He now has the 3rd most runs by an under-25 batter in this tournament - more than Gill, Gurbaz, and Zadran. He has 4 half-centuries to his name, displaying excellent consistency in his debut World Cup campaign.

Charith Asalanka scores his 2nd ODI hundred (SAK)

Charith Asalanka was one of the most consistent number 5 batters in the ODI cricket in this World Cup cycle. He put up impressive numbers and was similar to KL Rahul in terms of having a similar role. His USP was batting in collapses, and today he did that extremely well yet again. They were 72/3 when he walked into the crease, which soon became 135 with half the side back in the hut amidst a ‘timeout’ for Mathews. This was his first knock of substance in this World Cup though. He scored runs against South Africa but that chase was well out of their reach after Mendis got out.

Theekshana changes roles this World Cup  (JK)

Theekshana may be the worst number eight at this World Cup. But he also batted in a way he never has before. For the second time, he looked so comfortable at the crease, and really helped Sri Lanka put on a decent total.

He currently has more runs than Angelo Mathews, albeit from fewer games.

But until the death flurry, Mathews had more wickets. Theekshana went past him at the end. But maybe Theekshana is a batter now. And Mathews, a bowler? This might explain Sri Lanka’s World Cup.

However, I think in taking Shakib Al Hasan’s wicket, he will be content to never bowl again.