Angelo Mathews continued his love affair with Leeds and the Indian cricket team as he blasted his third century in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against India on Saturday. Mathews was at the centre of a Sri Lankan revival after Jasprit Bumrah had rocked the top order with two wickets of Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera. Mathews shared a 124-run stand with Lahiru Thirimanne who slammed his 21st fifty while he helped Sri Lanka reach a great total in the company of Dhananjaya de Silva. Mathews' ton was his third against India, having smashed 139 and 111 in Ranchi and Mohali during the 2014 and 2017 series against India.
Mathews' efforts was reminiscent of his wonderful effort against England in Leeds when he rescued Sri Lanka from a similar position. Against the hosts, Sri Lanka lost two quick wickets with the openers departing before Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis shared a partnership which boosted Sri Lanka. However, a middle order collapse saw England fightback but Mathews held firm and his 85* helped Sri Lanka reach 232/9. Boosted by Mathews' knock, Sri Lanka threw the race for the semi-final wide open with a 20-run win.
Mathews has a fabulous record in Leeds. In three games, he has smashed a fifty and a century and was not dismissed. Even in the Test match against England in 2014, Mathews blasted 160 and laid the platform for Sri Lanka for a fabulous win which gave them their maiden series win.
The right-hander, who has been plagued by injury issues, came out to bat when Sri Lanka were reeling at 55/4. Slowly, Mathews and Thirimanne rebuilt the innings and steadied Sri Lanka in the middle overs. After getting their eye in, both batsmen found the boundaries on a regular basis after going past their milestones. Mathews was dropped by 61 off Ravindra Jadeja by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and he proceeded to punish the bowling, slamming a six over long off.
Despite Thirimanne's dismissal, Mathews continued to target Jadeja with a four and a six and he got to his landmark in style by upper-cutting a slow bouncer off Hardik Pandya. In both his centuries against India, Mathews' 139 was upstaged by a brilliant ton from Virat Kohli as India whitewashed Sri Lanka 5-0. In the 2017 clash against India in Mohali, Rohit Sharma blasted his third double century as Sri Lanka failed to go past India's score despite Mathews'century.
Mathews' century helped Sri Lanka reach 264/7 and they will be determined to spoil India's march to the top of the table.