Mathews century as pollution soars in New Delhi


New Delhi (AFP)

Angelo Mathews defied India's bowlers and soaring pollution with a century as Sri Lanka reached 270-4 at tea in the third Test in New Delhi on Monday, a day after smog protests interrupted play.

Mathews reached 111 on day three before falling to Ravichandran Ashwin just ahead of tea at a hazy Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in the heavily polluted Indian capital.

There was no repeat of Sunday's dramatic scenes where play was halted three times as Sri Lanka's fielders, many wearing face masks, complained about the visible haze.

Mathews put on a 181-run stand with skipper Dinesh Chandimal after the visitors resumed on their overnight 131-3.

Chandimal, on 98, was batting alongside Sadeera Samarawickrama, who came down the order after taking a hit on his helmet on day one. He did not take to the field on Sunday.

The visitors trail by 266 runs after India declared their first innings on 536-7 Sunday, when play was delayed over the polluted air.

Conditions were even worse Monday, with concentration of the smallest and most harmful airborne pollutants 18 times the World Health Organization's safe level, just before the players took lunch.

On Sunday it was 15 times over the WHO limit, according to the US embassy website.

Mathews, who survived three dropped catches, ended his two-year century drought with a boundary off paceman Ishant Sharma. His last ton came against India in Galle.

Chandimal, who needed help from a trainer in the morning session after appearing unwell, batted with patience to close in on his 10th Test ton.

Sri Lanka, who trail 1-0 in the three-match series after their thrashing in the second game, need a win to draw the series against top-ranked India.