At the end of the match, the Sri Lankan players chose not to shake hands with their Bangladesh opponents, who won their ICC Men’s ODI World Cup round robin match by three wickets in New Delhi on Monday.
Sri Lanka batted first and were bowled out for 279, and Bangladesh, led by their captain and eventual player of the match Shakib Al Hasan chased down the total with 53 balls to spare.
However, the tempers began to flare between the two teams after Al Hasan appealed, successfully, to have Sri Lanka’s former captain Angelo Mathews timed out in the 25th over of the first innings.
Mathews came in to bat at No 6 after Al Hasan dismissed Sadeera Samarawickrama. As Mathews reached the crease, his helmet strap broke and he asked for a new one. Due to the delay in facing his first ball, Al Hasan appealed to the umpires and would stand his ground.
Eventually, umpires Marais Erasmus and Richard Illingworth upheld Al Hasan’s appeal, and Mathews became the first ever player in international cricket to be timed out.
“I don’t know where the common sense went because obviously it’s disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh,” Mathews said later in the post-match press conference. “If they want to play cricket and to stoop down to that level, I think there is something drastically wrong.
“In my 15-year career, I’ve never seen a team going down to that level because the umpires also admitted that it’s equipment malfunction, and they could have gone upstairs and checked again.
“I don’t think any other team would do that because it was black and white. It was equipment malfunction, the helmet coming off. It was a big safety issue as well.
“Shakib had the option (of recalling me) but he decided to go the other way.”
During the innings break, speaking to Ian Bishop, fourth umpire Adrian Holdstock explained that the “batter wasn’t ready to receive the ball within [the allotted] two minutes, even before the strap became an issue for him.”
Based on the ICC Cricket World Cup playing conditions, Rule 40.1.1 states: “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.”
Al Hasan later explained his take during the post-match presentation.
“One of our fielders came to me and said, if you appeal, the law says he’s out because he hasn’t taken his guard within the time frame,” Al Hasan said.
“Then I appealed and the umpire asked me whether I was serious and whether I was going to take it back or not. I said ‘no, if it is in the rule if it’s out, I [won’t] take it back.’
“It’s in the laws. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong. But I felt like I was at war. I had to take the decision to make sure my team wins and whatever I had to do, I had to do. Right or wrong – there will be debates. But if it’s in the rules, I don’t mind taking those chances.”
Sri Lanka were at 135/4 at the time. With Mathews being given timed out, the Lankans lost their fifth wicket without a ball being bowled.
Eventually, through Charith Asalanka’s 108 off 105, they managed to get to 279 in a match they had to win to stay alive in the contest.
But Al Hasan, who had picked up two wickets for 57 runs with the ball, scored 82 off 65 with the bat to help his side earn the win.
The Bangladesh skipper was eventually dismissed off the bowling of Mathews, with Asalanka taking the catch – both the Sri Lankans who had been batting at the time of the controversial wicket in the first innings. Mathews pointed towards his wrist as Al Hasan walked back to the pavilion.
Bangladesh would eventually win the match by three wickets, knocking Sri Lanka out of the tournament. The losing team however, refused to shake hands and instead walked back to their own dressing room.
“You need to respect people who respect us,” Mathews said. “They have to respect the game as well. We are all ambassadors of this beautiful game including the umpires. If you don’t respect and don’t use common sense then what more can you ask for.”
The 2023 edition of the World Cup has been a forgetful campaign for the 1996 champions. Sri Lanka has won just two matches from their eight games so far. They have had wins against the Netherlands and England – the only two teams placed below them in the leaderboard.
Hours before Sri Lanka had been knocked out, their country’s sports minister had sacked the entire cricket board.
The team plays their last match of the World Cup on November 9, against New Zealand.