Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, The Old Warriors Showing What Could Have Been: 2022

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Modified May 27, 2022 4:18 PM IST

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Once, a good eleven years ago, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal were on the receiving end of some harsh criticsm. In an Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal partnership, with seventeen needed in eight overs, Mathews decided to help Chandimal get an ODI century at Lords. He defended, and refused to score runs to the frustration of Kevin Pietersen, and the Sri Lankan dressing room led by TM Dilshan.

Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal were two young guns with a lot of potential then. Mathews was a promising all-rounder, and could have been discussed along with the likes of Ben Stokes had he maintained his fitness. He was Sri Lanka’s first pace bowling all-rounder while Dinesh Chandimal was shaping to be their lead batter, with talent that looked comparable to the Fab Four in international cricket.

Both Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal though faced a lot of hurdles. Angelo Mathews suffered with injuries, Dinesh Chandimal lost form, both had tough stints as captain, with the side in transition following the retirements of Sangakkara, Dilshan and Jayawardene. Both were sacked as captains and dropped as well, but after ten years full of hurdles, here they are, together rescuing the Sri Lankan team yet again.

Seeing them bat together in the middle may make one wonder what Sri Lankan Cricket has missed over the years. They have seen the entire transition and downfall unfold, where both on a tough tour to India, and now are in the side with a different management. The situation is as tough as ever and Sri Lanka needed their two seniors to stand up.

With Sri Lanka staring at a deficit, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal produced centuries in a big partnership. They provided glimpses of what could have been had they not suffered from injuries and form issues. They helped get a massive lead, and in the process, Dinesh Chandimal made his first century since 2018 while Angelo Mathews crossed 300 runs. Both players made good contributions in the first Test as well. Angelo Mathews made 199, while Dinesh Chandimal helped save the Test in the second innings when Bangladesh were threatening to create a collapse.

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For Dinesh Chandimal in particular, this knock was important. He has seen youngsters come and threaten his place while Dinesh Chandimal looked stuck. Over the years, he lost some of his aggressiveness and struggled to string scores. At Dhaka though, Dinesh Chandimal was swift in his transition to a century, bringing back his jaw-dropping strokes and looking more like his natural self.

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Angelo Mathews has had a big series as well, making two big centuries after a long period of silence. Angelo Mathews looked solid in defense throughout the innings, using his experience to step out and play the odd aggressive stroke to state that he was still in control of the game.

Throughout the partnership, both players showed their different styles of play. Angelo Mathews was more solid, and defensive while Dinesh Chandimal was fearless, and taking his chances against the spin bowlers. With Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal supporting Sri Lanka yet again, the side has managed to get through Bangladesh well and will be eager to see what these two heroes have for them going forward.