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Mathews steps down as Sri Lanka captain

Allrounder relinquishes leadership following shock series defeat to Zimbabwe, with his successor expected to be named Wednesday

Angelo Mathews has stepped down as Sri Lanka's captain, a day after describing the one-day series loss to Zimbabwe as one of the lowest points in his career.

Sikandar Raza's stellar all-round display guided Zimbabwe to their first one-day international series win over hosts Sri Lanka with a nervous three-wicket victory in the fifth and final match at Hambantota on Monday.



Mathews had said he was contemplating his future as captain and ESPN have reported the allrounder informed the Sri Lanka selectors of his decision to step down in all three formats of the international game.

Zimbabwe, ranked 11th in the world, had never beaten Sri Lanka before this series and their triumph was all the sweeter after losing previous encounters with Scotland and Afghanistan.

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"It's one of the lowest points in my career, and a hard one to swallow," Mathews said after the 3-2 series defeat.

"Everything went against us, from the toss to misreading the wicket. But there are no excuses. At the end of the day we were not good enough to beat them. They played better cricket."

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Sri Lanka are expected to name Mathews' Test successor on Wednesday, with the likes of batsmen Dinesh Chandimal and Upul Tharanga, as well as veteran spinner Rangana Herath the leading contenders.

Mathews' resignation comes with the side still searching for a replacement as head coach, after Graham Ford vacated the post on the eve of the Zimbabwe series.

The Islanders' form in the 50-over format has been dismal since the 2015 World Cup and they have suffered series defeats against England, South Africa and Australia.

They also drew against Bangladesh at home and were knocked out of this year's Champions Trophy at the group stage.

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Sri Lanka, the 1996 50-over world champions, have left the door open for West Indies to pip them in the race for automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.

The top eight teams in the rankings, including hosts England, will qualify directly. The rest will have to go through a qualification tournament to make the 10-team event.

Sri Lanka are ranked eighth and face a tough five-match series at home to India while West Indies, ranked a place below, play the same number of matches against England before the Sepember. 30 cut-off date.