Mathews began his international career in late-2008 with ambitions of becoming a genuine allrounder, but has since given primacy to his batting (to diminish his workload and avoid injuries), and effectively plays as a specialist batsman in the Test side. However, for the balance of the team, he still plays as a batting allrounder in the limited overs cricket. A more than useful strike rate of 84.06 has made him a damaging prospect in the final overs of the Sri Lankan innings.
He made his international debut in a One Day International against Zimbabwe in November 2008 and made his Test debut against Pakistan at Galle in July, 2009.
Angelo Mathews made his Test debut in Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2009. The Test also marked the debuts of Abdur Rauf, Mohammad Amir and Saeed Ajmal. He scored his maiden half-century in the third Test of the series, played at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo. His maiden ton came against Australia in September, 2011 in the same venue. Mathews has an average record in Tests in countries such as Australia, South Africa and India, but up to now he has had limited opportunities to improve on it. His brilliant records at home and in countries like England and UAE make up for that. Two of his four centuries came in England – against a high quality pace attack consisting of James Anderson and Stuart Broad – in the famous Sri Lanka tour of England and Ireland, 2014. He has also flourished with the added responsibility of captaincy, averaging 86.62 in 13 matches.
In February 2013, Mathews became Sri Lanka's youngest ever Test captain at 25, after having been groomed for the post for two years. He captained the Lankan team in its monumental Test series win in England (2014). His highest Test score (160 of 249 balls) also came in the second match of the series played at Headingley, Leeds.
Mathews became an important member in Sri Lanka One Day team during the Sri Lanka tour of Australia in 2010/11. At the first match, on 3 November 2010, Mathews scored a magnificent match winning 77* runs with a partnership with Lasith Malinga, who also scored his only half-century. Sri Lanka were in trouble when he come into the crease, but finally won the match. In this match, Mathews along with Malinga, recorded the highest ninth wicket partnership in ODI history by scoring 132 runs for the ninth wicket.
Mathews hit back-to-back centuries against England at Lord’s and Headingley to seal Sri Lanka’s first-ever Test series win in England. Under him, Sri Lanka also won the ODI series 3 – 2. The England tour was followed by a 2 – 0 win over Pakistan at home, where Mathews and his team ensured a winning send-off for Mahela Jayawardene from Tests.
On 16 November 2014, Mathews scored his first ODI century against India at Ranchi. He hit four boundaries and ten huge sixes, but finally ended up in the losing side by century made by Indian skipper Virat Kohli. Under the captaincy of Mathews, however, lost all the matches in 5 ODI series against India in 2014. This is the largest lost by Sri Lanka in a bilateral series.
Year 2014 was the limelight of Mathew's captaincy, where Sri Lanka won many bilateral ODI series and also the 2014 Asia Cup. That year, he became the most successful ODI captain with 20 wins out of 32 matches and 62.50% of winning percentage.
Mathews was able to bring the team to quarter finals of the World Cup 2015 under his captaincy, where they lost the quarter final against South Africa on 18 March 2015. This defeat was Sri Lanka's first lost in World Cups after 2003, without reaching for the semi finals.
In the Indian Premier League cricket, he currently plays for Delhi Daredevils. He is one of the most sought out players in the Premier League world, having been bought by the Pune Warriors for US $950,000. In 2015,he was sold to Delhi Daredevils in IPL Auction at a price tag of Rs.7.5 Crores.