Kumar Sangakkara's 27th Test century helped Sri Lanka reach 245 for two and into a strong position at stumps on the first day of their must-win third and final Test against Pakistan in neutral Sharjah on Thursday.
Sangakkara (112 not out) is 11th on the all-time list of Test century scorers and alongside the similarly prolific Mahela Jayawardene (32 not out), who is closing on 10,000 Test runs; he helped the team recover from an early setback.
Opener Tharanga Paranavitana was caught at slip by Younis Khan off Umar Gul for four on the fifth delivery of the day, a ball after being dropped at short leg by Azhar Ali.
Sangakkara then came to the crease with captain Tillakaratne Dilshan (92) and the pair's 173-run second-wicket partnership helped Sri Lanka build a solid platform as they seek to draw the series they trail 1-0.
Dilshan has struggled in the series with a top score of 19 but looked a different player during his innings, cut agonisingly short of a century by a Saeed Ajmal spinner that caught the edge and was poached by Younis at first slip.
Sri Lanka have scored over 300 only once in their four innings in the series so far, during the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi, and Pakistan claimed an easy nine-wicket win in the second in Dubai.
The "home" matches for Pakistan are being played in the Gulf region due to security concerns.
Sri Lanka (1st innings):
T Paranavitana c Younis b Gul 4
T Dilshan c Younis b Ajmal 92
K Sangakkara not out 112
M Jayawardene not out 32
Extras: (LB-3, NB-2) 5
Total: (for two wkts) 245
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-177
Bowling: Gul 17-6-43-1, Khan 17-2-63-0, Ajmal 27-3-71-1, Rehman 24-5-62-0, Hafeez 1-0-3-0.