Sharjah - Pakistan spearhead Umar Gul took a wicket in the first over of the match before Sri Lanka fought back to reach 75-1 at lunch on the opening day of the third and final Test on Thursday.
Sri Lanka won the toss and batted, only to see Gul remove opener Tharanga Paranavitana for four, before Tillakaratne Dilshan (33) and Kumar Sangakkara (35) steadied the innings with an unbroken second wicket stand of 71.
The experienced pair negotiated Pakistan's pace and spin attack without any trouble on a docile Sharjah stadium pitch.
Pakistan lead the series 1-0 after winning the second Test in Dubai by nine wickets. The first Test in Abu Dhabi ended in a draw.
Sri Lankan captain Dilshan returned to open the innings after deciding to drop opener Lahiru Thirimanne and paceman Suranga Lakmal, bringing in off-spinner Suraj Randiv and 26-year-old paceman Kosala Kulasekara for his first Test.
Pakistan were unchanged from the second Test.
The change at the top did not help Sri Lanka to a flying start as Paranavitana slashed at the fifth ball of the innings from Gul and was smartly snapped up by Younis Khan in the slips.
Two balls before his dismissal, Paranavitana was dropped at forward short-leg by Azhar Ali, but the opener failed to capitalise on the chance.
Pakistan introduced spin at both the ends after 10 overs, but the batsmen remained untroubled.
Dilshan survived a confident caught behind shout off a short ball from Gul, which seemed to have hit the glove, but Indian umpire Shahvir Tarapore remained unmoved.