NEW DELHI – Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Mathews became the first player to be given "timed out" in the history of international cricket on Monday in a World Cup clash against Bangladesh.
The controversy overshadowed Charith Asalanka’s fine 108 as Sri Lanka made 279 in a game they need to win to maintain their slim hopes of squeezing into the semi-finals.
Mathews had come into bat after the fall of Sadeera Samarawickrama in the 25th over but was unable to secure his helmet strap tightly enough, an action which delayed the resumption of play.
As a result, the former captain had taken more than two minutes to take strike and Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan appealed.
On-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Richard Illingworth talked to both teams before the decision was upheld.
The 36-year-old Mathews reluctantly trudged off with most spectators appearing bemused by the decision. Some Bangladesh fans applauded.
“Mathews’ dismissal was not good for the spirit of cricket,” said century-maker Asalanka.
Former South African fast bowler Dale Steyn writing on X, formerly Twitter, said: “Well, that wasn’t cool”.
According to laws of cricket, after the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batsman, the incoming player must be ready to receive the ball within two minutes.
The Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians said there have been six instances of “timed out” in first-class cricket.
“There have been no instances recorded in List A or Twenty20 cricket until Mathews,” they wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The vastly-experienced Mathews was playing in his 225th one-day international on Monday in a career which has yielded 5,900 runs and 122 wickets.
He has also played 106 Tests and 78 Twenty20 internationals.
The match had been given the green light despite smog-choked New Delhi being ranked as the planet’s most polluted major city.
On the pitch, left-handed Asalanka stood firm to rebuild the Sri Lanka innings after they had slipped to 135-5 following the exit of Mathews.
Asalanka put on key stands including 78 runs with Dhananjaya de Silva, who made 34, as he reached his second ODI ton in 101 balls amid applause from a crowd of over 15,000.
After hitting six boundaries and five sixes, he finally fell to Tanzim Hasan Sakib, who finished with figures of 3-80.
The Sri Lankan innings ended in 49.3 overs.
Bangladesh are out of the race for the semi-finals while Sri Lanka only have a mathematical chance of making the final-four.
The two teams are fighting to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
The top seven teams from this World Cup will gain entry into the tournament where hosts Pakistan will have automatic qualification.
Brief scores: 279 all out in 49.3 overs (C. Asalanka 108, P. Nissanka 41, S. Samarawickrama 41; Tanzim Hasan Sakib 3-80) v Bangladesh