Mathews reveals Sangakkara chat before Wellington rescue act

Angelo Mathews has revealed that he picked the brain of Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara before he played his epic innings to help the visitors secure a draw in the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

Mathews and Kusal Mendis teamed up for an unbeaten partnership of 278 as the pair rescued Sri Lanka and help keep the series level going into the final Test that starts on Boxing Day in Christchurch.

Having been reduced to 13/3 on the third day, the tourists didn’t lose a wicket for the entire fourth day and with the fifth day frequently interrupted by rain, the game was called off well before time and ended in a draw.

Mathews was unbeaten on 120 while Mendis was 141 not out at the end of the game and the former recalled a chat he had with Sangakkara before the Test.

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Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Mathews said: “I had a chat to Kumar Sangakkara before the match, because he had got a double-hundred in Wellington in the last match we played here.

“I just wanted to know how he went about it, and what his thought process was.

“Mostly, we spoke about thought process and shot selection. He talked me through the shot selection that he used for each different bowler, and how he tackled them.

“Then I used my experience of the matches which I played here. I used that as an experience as well and took his advice too.”

Mathews batted for more than three sessions with Mendis, who, at just 23-year-old, is an emerging talent for Sri Lanka, and the batsmen kept exchanging ideas in middle as to how to get through tough periods as New Zealand fast bowlers came hard at them with short-pitched bowling.

Mathews added: “It was a very important day and a very important three sessions for the entire team, and the team always comes first,” Mathews said.

“It’s always nice to see that kind of maturity in such a young player. With our experience we know we will get better at our games, but he’s a step ahead.

“He put the team first and we did what the team needed us to do. We kept exchanging our ideas.”