Pakistan closed the second day of the third Test at 19-0 in Dubai yesterday after Sri Lanka declared their first innings at 428-9.
Openers Khurram Manzoor (14) and Ahmed Shehzad (5) were at the crease as Pakistan trail by 409 runs.
Dilruwan Perera missed a century on his debut by five runs while skipper Angelo Mathews missed his second in the series by nine as Sri Lanka frustrated Pakistan after Sri Lanka resumed the day at 220-5.
Paceman Junaid Khan had figures of 3-81 while Mohammad Talha took 3-99. Spinner Saeed Ajmal finished with 2-120.
Khan took two wickets in two deliveries to deprive Mathews.
Mathews was shaping well for his third Test century when he miscued a drive off Junaid and was caught by a diving Ahmed Shehzad for 91 before Sri Lanka reached tea at 359-8.
Debutant Dilruwan Perera scored a maiden half-century. Dilruwan hit Junaid for his seventh boundary to become the 15th Sri Lankan to score a fifty on his Test debut. He has also hit a six during his enterprising knock, supporting his skipper.
Next ball, Junaid trapped Rangana Herath LBW for zero to end Pakistan’s wait for wickets in their bid to level the series.
Mathews once again anchored the Sri Lankan batting, defying Pakistan’s bowling for six hours on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch which had little for bowlers.
Mathews added an invaluable 112 runs for the seventh wicket with Perera to thwart Pakistan’s efforts for quick wickets.
Pakistan’s attack was left frustrated by Mathews, who also added 73 for the sixth wicket with Prasanna Jayawardene, who was the only man out in the first session, caught hooking off paceman Mohammad Talha.
Mathews took full advantage of the dropped caught and bowled chance by Talha on Thursday by hitting five boundaries and a six.
Resuming at 220-5, Sri Lanka’s batsmen batted solidly in the first two sessions.
Sri Lanka lead the three-Test series 1-0 after winning the second Test in Dubai by nine wickets. The first Test ended as a draw in Abu Dhabi.