PALLEKELE: Sri Lanka, sent in to bat, were 272-8 in their first innings at stumps on the opening day of the third and final Test against Pakistan in Pallekele on Friday.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne top-scored with 130 as leg-spinner Yasir Shah claimed four wickets, while Azhar Ali and Rahat Ali took two each.
Pakistan, winning the toss for the third time in a row, secured an early break with the wicket of Kaushal Silva, who had scored 125 in the first Test in Galle and 80 in the second in Colombo.
Silva made nine when he was caught behind off left-arm seamer Rahat Ali, who was picked alongside Ehsan Ali and Imran Khan in a new-look pace attack for the decider.
The left-handed pair of Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga put on 91 for the second wicket on either side of lunch to lift the score to 106 for one, before three wickets fell for 31 runs.
Tharanga, who replaced Kumar Sangakkara for the match, made 46 when he edged Yasir to slip where an alert Younis Khan took a smart catch diving in front.
Lahiru Thirimanne (11) and skipper Angelo Mathews (three) fell in successive overs from Yasir, mistiming drives to substitute fielder Babar Azam as Sri Lanka slipped to 137-4.
The wicket of the Sri Lankan captain was Yasir’s 20th in the series, enabling Pakistan to come back strongly despite conditions favouring the batsmen on the evenly-paced pitch.
Both sides reshuffled their packs with four changes each in a bid to break the 1-1 series deadlock.
Besides the three seamers who came in, Pakistanalso brought in left-hand batsman Shan Masood.
Two of those changes were forced as pace spearhead Wahab Riaz was sidelined with a fractured hand, and Mohammad Hafeez was not available since he has to be tested after being reported for a suspect action in the first Test.
Left-arm seamer Junaid Khan and spinner Zulfiqar Babar were dropped.
With Sangakkara opting out of the decider and batsman Kithuruwan Vithanage showing poor form, Sri Lanka recalled two left-handers in Tharanga and 34-year-old Mubarak.
Mubarak played the last of his 10 Tests in December, 2007 — before any of his current teammates had made their debut.
The hosts also left out veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and injured fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera to play seamers Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep. Dhammika Prasad leads the three-man pace attack.
The series is tied at 1-1 after Pakistan won the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets and Sri Lanka took the second in Colombo by seven wickets.