Sri Lanka out of WC. Mathews’s bizarre dismissal seemed to distract his team as they crashed to a three-wicket defeat.

Indian fans aren’t exactly unfamiliar with bizarre cricketing dismissals. Steve Waugh getting out for ‘handling the ball’ in Chennai in the famous 2001 Border-Gavaskar series immediately rings a bell. Inzamam-ul-Haq’s dismissal for ‘obstructing the field’ as Suresh Raina threw the ball towards the stumps in Peshawar 2006 was another such instance.

Monday saw another such occurrence as Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews became the first international cricketer to be ‘timed out’ in the fifth and final game of the ongoing World Cup at the Feroze Shah Kotla.

The unique dismissal, and the following controversy, completely overshadowed Bangladesh’s three-wicket victory that knocked Sri Lanka out of the semi-final race. The instance eclipsed Charith Asalanka’s fantastic 105-ball 108 that guided Sri Lanka to 279 in 49.3 overs. It also put in the shade Najmul Hossain Shanto (90) and Shakib Al Hasan’s (82) 169-run third wicket stand that ended Bangladesh’s streak of six successive defeats with 8.5 overs to spare.

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Angelo Mathews Timed Out for Helmet Replacement Delay (Sri Lanka out of WC):

It was in the 25th over with Sri Lanka precariously placed at 135/4. When their most experienced player walked out following the dismissal of Sadeera Samarawickrama. Mathews not exactly rush to the crease and preparing to take guard against Shakib when he realized that the chin strap of his helmet was broken.

The veteran took off the helmet and indicated towards the dressing room that he needed a new one. Even before Chamika Karunaratne ran out to the middle with another helmet. Bangladesh skipper Shakib appeal to umpire Marais Erasmus, who informed Mathews that he had been ‘timed out’.

A confused Mathews first smiled thinking it was a joke before realising the seriousness of the decision. The 36-year-old had a long discussion with Erasmus and square leg umpire Richard Illingworth before having a word with Shakib, who smiled and indicated to Mathews that it was up to the umpires. Dejected, he threw his helmet and gloves on reaching the dugout.

According to Rule 40.1.1 of ICC’s playing conditions, “After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless time has been called. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, timed out.”

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Controversial ‘Timed Out’ Dismissal Raises ‘Spirit of Cricket’ Debate

Samarawickrama was dismissed at 3:49 pm while Mathews was given ‘timed out’ at 3:54 pm after not facing his first ball for more than 200 seconds of the last dismissal.

The dramatic circumstances erupted into a controversy with the “spirit of the game” topic returning to the debating table. “My point is that Mathews’ dismissal was not good for the spirit of cricket,” centurion Asalanka told the broadcaster.

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir called the dismissal “absolutely pathetic” while former South Africa pacer Dale Steyn said that the decision “was not cool”. Australia batter Usman Khawaja came out in defense of Mathews, saying: “Angelo made his crease then his helmet strap broke. How is that timed out? I’m all for timed out if he doesn’t make his crease but this is ridiculous. No different than a batsman getting to the crease then taking 3 minutes to face up.”

Ironically, it was Mathews who took Shakib’s wicket. The Sri Lankan pointed towards his wrist as Shakib was walking towards the dressing room, indicating it was Shakib’s time to walk out.

While the first instance of a ‘timed out’ dismissal in international cricket. Six other batters been ‘timed out’ in first-class cricket with Hemulal Yadav being the only Indian. He was out in a Ranji Trophy match between his team Tripura and Orissa in Cuttack in December 1997.

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