WELLINGTON: Angelo Mathews celebrated with push-ups on the pitch as he joined strike partner Kusal Mendis on triple figures to boost Sri Lanka's hopes of avoiding an innings defeat against New Zealand Tuesday.

Mathews reached 103 not out late on day four, while Mendis was unbeaten on 111, with Sri Lanka at 239 for three and still needing 57 to match New Zealand's giant first-innings total of 578.

The veteran all-rounder's ninth Test century was part of an unbroken 226-run partnership that is the highest the tourists have ever scored against New Zealand.

Mathews, 31, who top-scored for Sri Lanka with 83 in the first innings, dropped to the pitch to perform push-ups after making his century off 248 balls.

The pair's stubborn resistance has denied New Zealand a wicket throughout day four and offered Sri Lanka a glimmer of hope they can bat long enough to salvage a draw.

Mendis and Mathews started the day with Sri Lanka reeling at 20 for three in their second innings, 276 short of New Zealand's first-innings score.

Mendis brought up his sixth Test ton off 215 deliveries.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2018