Pakistan's four-pronged pace attack snared five Sri Lankan wickets on day one of the momentous Rawalpindi Test as they vindicated the team management's surprising decision to exclude leg-spinner Yasir Shah from the playing XI.
The topsy-turvy day saw the momentum shift rather symmetrically between the two teams with no side able to boast having control of the proceedings as Sri Lanka were 202-5 with just 68.1 overs of play possible.
Pakistan's bowlers toiled hard in a wicketless morning session where a fluent Dimuth Karunaratne and an overtly circumspect Oshada Fernando operated in tandem by blunting the shine off the new ball.
Mohammad Abbas delivered three wayward overs devoid of lateral movement off the surface including a reckless spray down the leg-side for four byes in his initial burst.
On the other end, Shaheen Afridi was guilty of pitching the ball too full trying to search for the magical delivery to see the back of the two openers.
Debutant Usman Shinwari was then introduced into the mix and created early troubles for the batsmen, though he too failed to provide his team with a breakthrough.
Sri Lanka finished the first session well on top of Pakistan with Karunaratne growing in confidence and launching a six in the final over before the interval off the bowling of part-timer Haris Sohail.
Post-lunch, Pakistan immediately showed much better application with the ball and tightened the screws with disciplined bowling.
Skipper Karunaratne was the first batsman to be dismissed when Shaheen startled him with a delivery that almost yorked the batter and struck his pad.
Although the 31-year-old Sri Lankan was adjudged lbw by the on-field umpire, he chose to review the decision only for hawkeye to return three reds.
Five overs later, teenager Naseem Shah had Fernando poke his bat at a ball outside off-stump allowing the slips to complete a simple catch.
Kusal Mendis' nervy stay at the crease was cut short by Shinwari, who registered the first wicket of his Test career.
The left-arm paceman opted to bowl from around the wicket to generate shape away from Mendis as he tamely edged the ball behind to the wicketkeeper.
Pakistan's stellar session in the field was capped off by Abbas joining in on the act as he produced a dream delivery to castle the stumps of Dinesh Chandimal.
The right-handed batsman, returning to Sri Lanka's Test fold since February, was undone by a cracking ball which smashed the top of off-stump after pitching on middle.
This discipline that helped Pakistan make inroads into Sri Lanka's batting faded following the tea break when Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva settled in to punish the hosts.
Streaky boundaries from de Silva was coupled with belligerent drives from Mathews as the duo eased in and looked set to rescue their side from further disarray.
However, Mathews threw his hands at a wider delivery in an uncharacteristic manner to give Naseem his second wicket of the day.
This was the last casualty for Sri Lanka on a day of many firsts for Pakistan's maiden Test on home soil in over a decade.
Bad light forced an early close with the honours supposedly shared between the two sides.