Dropped on 69, Mathews’ 12th Test century included a 92-run stand with Kusal Mendis and kept Sri Lanka, who chose to bat, on course for a good total in the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Sunday.
Bangladesh spinners grabbed all the four wickets with Nayeem Hasan snaring two for 71, Taijul taking 1-73 and Shakib Al Hasan returning 1-27 after returning to the fold upon his recovery from COVID-19.
Nayeem, playing his first Test in more than a year, removed Dimuth Karunaratne (9) in his first over, before bagging the wicket of Oshada Fernando (36). But it brought Mathews and Mendis together in the middle.
Bangladesh went on to lose both their reviews on ordinary lbw appeals.
Between extra cover and midwicket, he struck 11 boundaries and hit a straight six too. The rest of Mathews' boundaries were hit towards fine-leg.
Mendis batted conservatively, only hitting a couple of cover drives and another boundary through midwicket, as he allowed Mathews to thrive to club his first Test century against Bangladesh.
After going wicketless through the second session, Sri Lanka began the last session on a sour note losing Mendis to Taijul’s long-hop.
In the 65th over, Mahmudul Hasan Joy dropped Mathews in the slips off Taijul. Mahmudul made amends with a good catch in the next over to send Dhananjaya de Silva (6) packing, but the drop proved costly.