Mathews Reacts to Timed-Out Dismissal: ‘Unprecedented Act of Poor Sportsmanship by Team or Player’

Rohit Yaduwanshi
10 Min Read
Image credit - © AFP / Getty Images

In a World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Angelo Mathews found himself etched in history for an unexpected reason, much to his chagrin. The seasoned Sri Lankan all-rounder became the first player in international cricket, across genders, to fall victim to the rarely invoked “timed out” law.

Angelo Mathews timed out against Bangladesh
Angelo Mathews timed out against Bangladesh

The clash unfolded after Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bowl first. The pivotal moment occurred in the 25th over of Sri Lanka’s innings. Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan had just dismissed Sadeera Samarawickrama, who had contributed a solid 41 runs in 42 balls. Mathews, batting at No.6, took his time entering the field. Upon reaching the crease, he noticed a broken strap on his helmet, signaling the need for a replacement from the Sri Lankan dressing room. Capitalizing on the moment, Shakib initiated a light-hearted chat with umpire Marais Erasmus, cheekily inquiring, “How was that? Officially, I am asking.” This friendly banter triggered an extended dialogue involving Mathews, the umpires, and the Bangladesh players, culminating in a visibly perplexed Mathews exiting the field.

Mathews Reaction:

Mathews disagreed with Shakib statements, and claimed that he was ready before the timer had run out. “I have two minutes to get to the crease and get myself ready, which I did,” Mathews said. “And then it was an equipment malfunction.

The Law Behind the Unusual Dismissal

While the “timed out” rule has sporadically surfaced in domestic cricket globally, this incident marked its debut in international cricket history. The International Cricket Council (ICC) promptly released a statement, outlining the tournament’s playing conditions related to this rare dismissal. According to the rule (40.1.1), after a wicket falls or a batter retires, the incoming batter must be ready to face the ball within two minutes, unless a timeout is called. Failure to meet this requirement results in the incoming batter being declared “Timed out.” This slight deviation from the MCC’s three-minute provision for other international matches added a unique twist to the unfolding drama.

Angelo Mathews was dismissed before facing a ball
Angelo Mathews was dismissed before facing a ball

Also as per rule (40.1.2) In the event of an extended delay in which no batter comes to the wicket, the umpires shall adopt the procedure of Law 16.3 (Umpires awarding a match).  For the purposes of that Law the start of the action shall be taken as the expiry of the 3 minutes referred to above.


Sri Lanka eventually concluded their innings at 279 runs in 49.3 overs, with Charith Asalanka delivering an impressive performance, scoring 108 off 105 balls. Reflecting on the unusual dismissal, Asalanka remarked, “Mathews’ dismissal, while within the rules, didn’t align with the spirit of cricket.” The incident, though a historic first, left players and fans contemplating the fine balance between adherence to rules and the essence of fair play.

Dismissals in Test cricket matches

No Test cricket batter has faced a “timed out” dismissal as of November 2023, but certain incidents hint at the possibility:

  • In the 2006–2007 India vs. South Africa series at Cape Town’s Newlands Cricket Ground, a unique situation unfolded. Sachin Tendulkar, slated as the fourth batter, faced a delay due to a fielding replacement. Sourav Ganguly eventually took the crease after confusion in the Indian dressing room. South African captain Graeme Smith refrained from appealing for a “timed out” dismissal, considering the ambiguous information given by the match referee regarding Tendulkar’s brief suspension.
  • In the 2023 Ashes series’ second Test, Australian player Nathan Lyon, dealing with a calf injury, strategically positioned himself closer to the field during the Australian second innings to avoid the risk of a time-out dismissal. Lyon, with a hobble, safely entered the ground within the stipulated time, scoring 4 runs before being dismissed, with his partner adding 11 more.

Dismissals in First-class cricket matches

  1. Andrew Jordaan – Eastern Province v Transvaal at Port Elizabeth in 1987–88 – Not out overnight, Jordaan was prevented from reaching the ground by flooded roads the following day.
  2. Hemulal Yadav – Tripura v Orissa at Cuttack in 1997–98 – Yadav was in conversation with his team manager on the boundary and did not attempt to reach the crease.
  3. Vasbert Drakes – Border v Free State at East London in 2002 – Drakes was still on his way to the match by aeroplane from his native West Indies when he was due to bat.
  4. AJ Harris – Nottinghamshire v Durham UCCE at Nottingham in 2003 – Harris was suffering from a groin strain and took too long to walk to the crease and was given out on appeal.
  5. Ryan Austin – Combined Campuses and Colleges v Windward Islands at Kingstown, St Vincent in 2013–14 – Austin, the number 11 batter, failed to reach the crease in the requisite amount of time.
  6. Charles Kunje – Matabeleland Tuskers v Mountaineers at Bulawayo in 2017-18.

Note: Source of information – Wikipedia

Unusual dismissals in world cricket

In Test Matches

1Leonard HuttonObstructing the field27 England South AfricaThe Oval, London, England5th Test16-Aug-51Won
2Russell EndeanHandled the ball3 South Africa EnglandNewlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town, South Africa2nd Test01-Jan-57Lost
3Andrew HilditchHandled the ball29 Australia PakistanW.A.C.A. Ground, Perth, Australia2nd Test24-Mar-79Won
4Mohsin KhanHandled the ball58 Pakistan AustraliaNational Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan1st Test22-Sep-82Won
5Desmond HaynesHandled the ball55 West Indies IndiaWankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India4th Test24-Nov-83Drawn
6Graham GoochHandled the ball133 England AustraliaOld Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester, England1st Test03-Jun-93Lost
7Steve WaughHandled the ball47 Australia IndiaM. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, India3rd Test18-Mar-01Lost
8Marvan AtapattuRetired out201 Sri Lanka BangladeshSinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo, Sri Lanka2nd Test06-Sep-01Won
9Mahela JayawardeneRetired out150 Sri Lanka BangladeshSinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo, Sri Lanka2nd Test06-Sep-01Won
10Michael VaughanHandled the ball64 England IndiaM. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, India3rd Test19-Dec-01Drawn
11Mushfiqur RahimObstructing the field35 Bangladesh New ZealandShere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh2nd Test06-Dec-23In progress

In ODI Cricket

1Mohinder AmarnathHandled the ball15India AustraliaMelbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia2nd Final09-Feb-86Lost
2Rameez RajaObstructing the field99 Pakistan EnglandNational Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan2nd ODI20-Nov-87Lost
3Mohinder AmarnathObstructing the field28 India Sri LankaGujarat Stadium, Ahmedabad, IndiaODI22-Oct-89Won
4Daryll CullinanHandled the ball46 South Africa West IndiesKingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban, South Africa 27-Jan-99Won
5Inzamam ul-HaqObstructing the field16 Pakistan IndiaArbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar, Pakistan1st ODI06-Feb-06Won
6Mohammed HafeezObstructing the field0 Pakistan South AfricaKingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban, South Africa4th ODI21-Mar-13Won
7Anwar AliObstructing the field0 Pakistan South AfricaSt George’s Park, Port Elizabeth, South Africa2nd ODI27-Nov-13Won
8Ben StokesObstructing the field10 England AustraliaLord’s, London, England2nd ODI05-Sep-15Lost
9Chamu ChibhabhaHandled the ball18 Zimbabwe AfghanistanQueens Sports Club, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe3rd ODI20-Oct-15Won
10Xavier MarshallObstructing the field34 United States United Arab EmiratesSharjah Cricket Stadium, SharjahODI08-Dec-19Won
11Danushka GunathilakaObstructing the field55 Sri Lanka West IndiesSir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda1st ODI10-Mar-21Lost
12Angelo MathewsTimed out0 Sri Lanka BangladeshArun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi, IndiaWorld Cup06-Nov-23Lost

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