Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews continued to defy India on the fifth and final day scoring his seventh Test century as his team fought hard to stave off defeat in the third and final Test against India at the SSC grounds.
Mathews was unbeaten on 110 scored off 237 balls with 13 fours as Sri Lanka took tea at 249 for six wickets, still 137 adrift of their target of 386 with four wickets standing and one session of play left.
Batting with Mathews was Rangana Herath on three.
Mathews and debutant wicket-keeper/batsman Kusal Perera frustrated India in the afternoon session with a fighting sixth wicket stand of 135.
Perera who scored a half-century in the first innings batted fluently to reach his second fifty of the match off 89 balls with eight fours.
But with 12 minutes for tea and the second new ball available to India after the break Perera who had batted confidently suddenly lost his concentration and attempting to reverse sweep Ashwin put up an easy catch to Rohit Sharma at point with his score on 70.
India upto that point were looking for ways and means of breaking the threatening partnership and had it presented on a platter to them.
Perera became only the second Sri Lankan batsman to score twin fifties on a Test debut (55 and 70) after another wicket-keeper/batsman Dinesh Chandimal (58 and 54) who performed it against South Africa at Durban in 2011.
Mathews was lucky to survive a confident lbw shout off Amit Mishra when he was on 93, but otherwise batted with determination to reach his century off 217 balls.
Scores: India 312 and 274.
Sri Lanka 201 and 249-6 at tea (Kaushal Silva 27, Angelo Mathews 110 n.o., Kusal Perera 70, Ishant Sharma 2/32, Umesh Yadav 2/57, Ravichandran Ashwin 2/63)