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Mathews swings tide in Sri Lanka's favour

Afp
Sunday, January 05, 2014

ABU DHABI - Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews hit a career-best century to pull his team out of trouble on the fourth day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Mathews notched up 116 not out under pressure for his second Test hundred and put on invaluable 138-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Dinesh Chandimal (89) and 99 for the unfinished sixth wicket with Prasanna Jayawardene (48 not out) to take Sri Lanka to 5-420 at stumps at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

The tourists lost just one wicket, having resumed at 4-186.

They now lead by 241 runs and, with five wickets intact, can harbour hopes of an unlikely win on the fifth and final day or at least salvage a draw.

Chandimal praised Mathews' effort: "He batted well at a crucial stage and batted like a captain. With a bit of spin on the pitch we keep our fingers crossed (for a win) and a 300-plus target might be a winning one."

Mathews batted with resolve, blunting off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and had the better of Pakistan's three-pronged pace attack, reaching his hundred in the final session, taking two off Bhatti.

His hundred came off 239 balls.

In all the Sri Lankan captain batted for 370 minutes, hitting 12 boundaries and six off Ajmal, who conceded 96 runs in 42 wicket-less overs.