Abu Dhabi: Angelo Mathews led Sri Lanka’s strong fightback with a career-best unbeaten 116 and guided his team to a healthy lead of 241 in the first Test against Pakistan on Friday.
Mathews defied Pakistan throughout the fourth day and lifted Sri Lanka to 420 for five in their second innings as bowlers toiled hard for the sole success of Dinesh Chandimal (89).
The Sri Lanka captain revived the innings by adding 138 runs with Chandimal after resuming at a struggling 186 for four before adding further 96 runs with Prasanna Jayawardene (48 batting).
Mathews hit 12 fours and a six in his 282-ball knock against the pace trio of Junaid Khan (3-81), Bilawal Bhatti (2-31) and wicketless Rahat Ali, and the offspin of Saeed Ajmal.
Mathews completed his second Test century off 239 balls with 11 fours and a six in the last session when he clipped Bhatti to square leg and ran for two runs.
Playing in his 34th Test match, Mathews surpassed his only previous Test century of 105 not out against Australia in Colombo in 2011 as Pakistan bowlers virtually had no answer to break the strong defence of the Sri Lanka skipper.
Pakistan’s lone success came before tea when Chandimal missed his century and was caught at fine leg after hitting 12 fours as Sri Lanka scored 70 runs in the second session. Mathews and Chandimal frustrated bowlers in their century-stand after Sri Lanka resumed at a struggling 186 for four — a lead of only seven runs.