Sri Lanka, who won the toss and batted, reached 227-4 at stumps on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne was the top scorer with 93 and added 100 for the fourth wicket with skipper Dinesh Chandimal (60) to lift their team from a precarious 61-3 at lunch.
Niroshan Dickwella was unbeaten on 42. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah took 2-59 for Pakistan.
The Test is Pakistan's first since the retirement in May of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.