Dinesh Chandimal hit a steady half-century to give Sri Lanka a crucial lead over Pakistan on day two of the second and final Test in Karachi on Friday.
The former skipper scored 74 — his 18th Test fifty — as Sri Lanka reached 251-8 at tea in reply to Pakistan´s first innings total of 191 all out.
At the break, Dilruwan Perera (35) and Vishwa Fernando (0) were at the crease.
With his team wobbling at 80-5 in the morning, Chandimal built partnerships of 67 with Dhananjaya de Silva (32) for the sixth wicket, 37 for the seventh wicket with Niroshan Dickwella (21) and then another 51 with Perera.
Chandimal was finally dismissed by part-time spinner Haris Sohail, caught at backward point after he mistimed a cut. He hit ten boundaries in his 143-ball knock.
The extended two-and-a-half hour first session belonged to Pakistan who took three early wickets after Sri Lanka resumed at 64-3.
Fast bowlers Mohammad Abbas (4-47) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-66) rattled the Sri Lankan batting.
Abbas had nightwatchman Lasith Embuldeniya caught in the slip for 13 before lanky left-armer Afridi dismissed Angelo Mathews, also for 13.
De Silva, who scored a century in the first Test, batted with grit to frustrate Pakistan and take Sri Lanka to 170-6 at lunch.
Afridi broke the stand by luring De Silva into hooking straight into the hands of deep square-leg fielder Abbas, who held a running catch.
The Test series — part of the ongoing World Test championship — is the first in Pakistan since a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 suspended international cricket in the country.
The rain-ravaged first Test in Rawalpindi was drawn. (Courtesy AFP)