Pakistan took an early advantage after fast bowlers Junaid Khan and debutant Bilawal Bhatti bowled out Sri Lanka for 204 today on the opening day of the first test.
Captain Angelo Mathews launched a counterattack by hitting 91 off 147 balls with 15 fours to give the total some respectability before he was the last man to be dismissed.
Pakistan was 46-1 at stumps with debutant Ahmed Shehzad unbeaten on 25. Khurram Manzoor was run out in the last over.
Khan (5-58) had his fourth five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka while Bhatti (3-65) made an impressive debut by claiming three wickets in eight balls after lunch, which started a dramatic collapse as Sri Lanka lost seven wickets for 57 runs.
"I have played more matches against Sri Lanka and that's why I have taken more wickets against them, so it's nothing special for me," said Khan, who is playing his seventh test against Sri Lanka in a short career of 14 test matches.
Bhatti had Mahela Jaywardene (5) caught behind and Khan got the vital wicket of prolific run-scorer Kumar Sangakkara (16) as Sri Lanka's experienced batsmen looked rusty from their nine-month break of test matches since last competing against Bangladesh in March.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss on a greenish wicket of Sheikh Zayed Stadium but Dimuth Karunaratne (38) and Kaushal Silva (20) provided a solid start of 57 runs.
Karunaratne was quick to punish any overpitched delivery and Sri Lanka scored a brisk 50 runs in the first hour off fast bowlers Khan, Bhatti and Rahat Ali.
Karunaratne hit five fours before Asad Shafiq took a brilliant catch off Khan to remove him but Sri Lanka still managed to have a decent start of 66-1 by lunch.
Pakistan also lost one of its two television referrals when they thought Khan had found the outside edge of Silva's bat on 18, but TV umpire Sundaram Ravi upheld the not out decision.
In a stunning turnaround after lunch, Bhatti ignited the collapse when he had Silva (20), Mahela Jayawardene (5) and Dinesh Chandimal (0) dismissed in eight balls and Khan wrecked the lower middle order.
"When the ball got older it swung a bit and normally when wickets fall regularly it's pretty hard," Silva said. "If we had tackled that tough period it would have been different in the end."
Jayawardene was caught behind off a no-ball by Bhatti before he was dismissed in a similar fashion off the very next ball, which took a thick outside edge low to wicketkeeper Akmal.
Sangakkara, who had scored 1,006 runs in the last six test matches against Pakistan, played a loose drive off Khan's delivery to be snapped at point that reduced Sri Lanka to 82-5 as Khan jolted the Sri Lanka batting.
Khan had Prasanna Jayawardene (5) and debutant Sachithra Senanayake (5) caught behind and uprooted Rangana Herath's off stump before Mathews and Shaminda Eranga added some valuable runs.
"That is his (Mathews) natural game, he is an attacking player, he sticks to his game plan and get rid of pressure situation," Silva said of his captain's 2 hours, 20 minute of counter-hitting during which he tried to keep the strike to himself and protect the last two batsmen.
Offspinner Saeed Ajmal wrapped up the innings when he had Eranga caught behind and had Mathews stumped after Akmal, who also took five catches, had fumbled.
Pakistan's openers were hardly troubled by Sri Lanka's pace or experienced spinner Rangana Herath before Manzoor was run out in a mixup with Shehzad in the last over of the day.
Mohammad Hafeez, who scored three centuries in the one-day series, forced Pakistan to leave out middle-order batsman Azhar Ali for the first time since he made his test debut in 2010 and played in Pakistan's 31 test matches.
Sri Lanka also awarded a test cap to Senanayake and preferred him over fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara in the hopes the wicket would suit slow bowlers as the game progresses.
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