Abu Dhabi, Oct 18: Sri Lanka lost the wicket of opener Lahiru Thirimanne before reaching 50-1 at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi stadium on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka, sent into bat, enjoyed a confident start to their innings before off-spinner Saeed Ajmal struck to remove Thirimanne (20) caught at slip off a sharp turner in the penultimate over before lunch.
At the break Tharanga Paranavitana was unbeaten on 29 and with him Kumar Sangakkara on one.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq's decision to field first was prompted by some grass on the pitch as he included three pacemen and a lone spinner in Ajmal with all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez also expected to bowl off-breaks.
Pakistan surprisingly left out experienced left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz and included rookie Junaid Khan, also a left-armer.
Sri Lanka also kept the same combination, giving 24-year-old paceman Nuwan Pradeep the Test cap, and entering the match with only one specialist spinner in Rangana Herath.
Sri Lankan openers were cautious at the beginning as their first boundary came only in the 14th over when the left-hander Paranavitana drove Hafeez to the cover boundary.
Misbah brought on spinner Hafeez in the eighth over, and he came close to trapping Thirimanne in his first over. But a loud appeal for leg-before was turned down by New Zealand umpire Tony Hill.
Former Sri Lankan captain Sangakkara brought up the fifty with a single, as Pakistan's pacemen toiled hard under a scorching sun.
The three Test series was shifted to United Arab Emirates after Sri Lanka refused an invitation to tour Pakistan in the wake of terrorists attacks on a military base in Karachi in May this year.