Half-centuries from Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal frustrated Pakistan on Sarfraz Ahmed's first day as Test captain after Yasir Shah made history against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.
No spinner has taken fewer matches than the 27 Yasir has needed to reach the 150-wicket mark after he struck twice to reduce the tourists to 61-3 at lunch in a new era for Pakistan following the retirement of former skipper Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
Yasir (2-59), passed fit after being told to improve his physical condition by chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, also joined compatriot Waqar Younis as the joint-second quickest bowler to reach that landmark.
Karunaratne (93) and captain Chandimal (60 not out) led Sri Lanka's recovery, putting on 100 for the fourth wicket before they closed on 227-4.
Sri Lanka were whitewashed by India on home soil in their last Test series, prompting the selection committee to resign, but Karunaratne, Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella (42no) showed character on a slow-moving opening day of a two-match series.
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Hasan Ali (1-58) got the breakthrough to end an opening stand of 34 in the 18th over when Kaushal Silva shouldered arms, but failed to get his bat out of the way of a rising delivery and played on after Chandimal won the toss.
Lahiru Thirimanne was trapped in front without scoring attempting an ugly heave into the leg side to become Yasir's 150th Test scalp and the leg-spinner had Kusal Mendis caught behind on the stroke of lunch.
The patient Karunaratne and Chandimal stabilised the innings following the interval, the opener bringing up his 13th Test half-century with a quick single.
Karunaratne and Chandimal rotated the strike as boundaries continued to be hard to come by, getting through to tea without further damage, but the former threw it away just seven shy of a seventh Test hundred when he set off for a single and the skipper remained rooted at the non-striker's end.
After working so hard for his runs Karunaratne trudged off wondering what might have been and Dickwella was fortunate not to follow him when Pakistan failed with a review for lbw after Yasir got one to turn sharply.
Pakistan did not lose a review under new laws as umpire's call was the verdict, replays showing the ball would have hit the top of middle stump, but their frustration mounted as Chandimal pulled a short ball from Yasir to the boundary to reach his half-century.
Chandimal successfully reviewed after he was given out lbw to Mohammad Abbas and the aggressive Dickwella, who flicked Mohammad Amir over square leg for six, was still there at stumps in an unbroken stand of 66.