Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan fell short of a century after the tea interval having given his team a steady start on the first day of the third and final Test against Pakistan at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Opening the batting after Lahiru Thirimanne was left out of the side, Dilshan led from the front after opting to bat first on a placid track in Sharjah which last hosted a Test match in 2002.
Shrugging off the setback of losing his opening partner Tharanga Paranavithana to the fifth ball of the match, former skipper Kumar Sangakkara set about repairing the damage with a solid second wicket partnership of 177 being unbroken at the tea interval.
Dilshan's knock of 92 contained 12 fours and six while Sangakkara who passed 9,000 Test runs in the morning session continued at the other end.
The pair gave a few half chances during their innings before off spinner Saeed Ajmal struck inducing Dilshan to give an outside edge to Younis Khan.
Sangakkara was batting on 85 having hit eight boundaries and a six so far while Mahela Jayawardena was with him on 9.
Sangakkara, who smashed an epic 211 in the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi, is the 11th batsman in the world and only the second Sri Lankan behind Mahela Jayawardene (9,895 runs) to cross 9,000 or more in all Test cricket.
Dilshan was overcame a slump of form to score his first half-century in the series and only second in the last six games.
Dilshan and Sangakkara carried Sri Lanka to 75 for one at lunch after the early loss of opener Paranavithana.
Paranavitana departed in the fifth ball of the match despite having been dropped by Azhar Ali at short leg off Umar Gul in the previous delivery.
Gul enjoyed plenty of movement off the pitch early on and dismissed the Sri Lanka opener with a wicked delivery that encouraged an edge which Younus Khan held in the slips.
Fellow opener Dilshan had no such problems, however, and reached the interval on 33 not out having smashed five boundaries off 61 balls.
Sangakkara looked equally accomplished, the left-hander passing 9,000 Test runs on his way to an unbeaten 35 off 86 balls.
Pakistan, 1-0 up after their nine-wicket win in the second Test in Dubai, kept the same combination of two pacemen and two spinners.
Sri Lanka made two changes to the side replacing opening batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and fast bowler Suranga Lakmal with all-rounder Kosala Kulasekara and off-spinner Suraj Randiv.
Dilshan also moved back to the top of the batting order.
The first Test ended as draw in Abu Dhabi.
The Test is the first to be held in Sharjah since 2002.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umar, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Angelo Mathews, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Rangana Herath, Suraj Randiv, Chanaka Welegedara, Kosala Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Kaushal Silva.
Umpires: Simon Taufel (NZL) and Shahvir Tarapore (IND)
Tv umpire: Shozaib Raza (PAK)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)