Mathews falls after ton, Chandimal soldiers on
- Mathews-Chandimal stand yields 181 runs
- Ashwin ends Mathews' chancy knock
- Sri Lanka still 266 behind
NEW DELHI: Angelo Mathews ended his century drought while Dinesh Chandimal closed in on a hundred as Sri Lanka's former and current captains combined to help the tourists to 270-4 at tea on day three of the third and final test against India on Monday.
Beginning the day 405 runs behind India's first innings total of 536 for seven declared, the onus was on the right-handers to spearhead Sri Lanka's battle for survival at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
Mathews and Chandimal added 181 runs for the fourth wicket to deny India in the morning session before Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed the former 10 minutes before the tea interval to end the flourishing partnership.
Chandimal was batting on 98, a composed knock containing 13 boundaries, and will be key to Sri Lanka's hopes of reducing, if not completely erasing, the 266-run deficit.
Sadeera Samarawickrama, who suffered concussion on Saturday and was advised against playing on Sunday, was batting on four after doctors cleared him to play.
Mathews rode his luck to score 111 after being spilled twice on Monday to go with Sunday's early reprieve.
After the second day was blighted by complaints of air pollution by the visitors, Sri Lanka resumed on a slightly hazy morning on 131 for three.
The tourists immediately found themselves at the receiving end of Mohammad Shami's fiery four-over spell during which the paceman did everything right except take a wicket.
Chandimal duly completed his third successive fifty, he and Mathews displaying the kind of application that has been lacking among the tourists who trail 1-0 after their worst defeat in the second test in Nagpur.
Mathews was on six when Virat Kohli dropped him in the second slip on Sunday and paceman Ishant Sharma endured a second heartbreak when Rohit Sharma grassed a catch at the same position with the batsman on 98.
Mathews completed his eighth test century more than two years after his last came against the same opposition, and the relief was evident as he leapt and pumped air in celebration.
Mathews was lucky again on 104 when he lofted Ravindra Jadeja to mid-off and the ball burst through substitute fielder Vijay Shankar's hands.
He finally ran out of luck when Ashwin dismissed him caught behind to end his defiant knock which included 14 boundaries and two sixes.