Junaid Khan took five wickets, while Bilawal Bhatti scalped three as Pakistan first bowled out Sri Lanka for just 204 and then reached 46 for 1 at stumps.
Abu Dhabi: Pakistan took an early advantage after fast bowlers Junaid Khan and debutant Bilawal Bhatti bowled out Sri Lanka for 204 on Tuesday on the opening day of the first Test.
Captain Angelo Mathews launched a counter-attack by hitting 91 off 147 balls with 15 fours to give the total some respectability before he was the last man to be dismissed.
Pakistan were 46 for 1 at stumps with debutant Ahmed Shehzad unbeaten on 25 as Khurram Manzoor was run out in the last over. Khan (5 for 58) had his fourth five-wicket haul against Sri Lanka while Bhatti (3 for 65) made an impressive debut by claiming three wickets in eight balls after lunch, which started a dramatic collapse as Sri Lanka lost seven wickets for just 57 runs.
Bhatti had Mahela Jaywardene (5) caught behind and Khan got the vital wicket of prolific run-scorer Kumar Sangakkara (16) and Sri Lanka's experienced batsmen surely looked rusty from their nine-month break of Test matches since last competing against Bangladesh in March.
It was Pakistan, who looked to have lost the plot after captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss on a greenish wicket of Sheikh Zayed Stadium when Dimuth Karunaratne (38) and Kaushal Perera (20) provided a solid start of 57 runs.
Karunaratne was quick to punish any overpitched delivery and Sri Lanka scored a brisk 50 runs in the first hour off fast bowlers Khan, Bhatti and Rahat Ali.
Karunaratne hit five fours before Asad Shafiq took a brilliant catch off Khan to remove him but Sri Lanka still managed to have a decent start of 66 for 1 by lunch.
Pakistan also lost one of their two television referrals when they thought Khan had found the outside edge of Perera's bat on 18, but TV umpire Sundaram Ravi upheld the not out decision.
In a stunning turnaround after lunch, Bhatti ignited the collapse when he had Perera (20), Mahela Jayawardene (5) and Dinesh Chandimal (0) dismissed in eight balls and Khan wrecked the lower middle order.
Jayawardene was caught behind off a no-ball by Bhatti before he was dismissed in a similar fashion off the very next ball which took a thick outside edge low to wicketkeeper Akmal.
Sangakkara, who had scored 1,006 runs in the last six Test matches against Pakistan, played a lose drive off Khan's delivery to be snapped at point that reduced Sri Lanka to 82 for 5 as Khan jolted the Sri Lanka batting.
Khan had Prasanna Jayawardene (5) and debutant Sachithra Senanayake (5) caught behind and uprooted Rangana Herath's off stump before Mathews and Shaminda added some valuable runs.
Offspinner Saeed Ajmal wrapped up the innings when he had Shaminda caught behind and had Mathews stumped after initially Akmal, who also took five catches, had fumbled.
Pakistan openers were hardly troubled by Sri Lanka's pace or experienced spinner Rangana Herath before Manzoor was run out in a mixup with Shehzad in the last over of the day.
Mohammad Hafeez, who scored three centuries in the one-day series, forced Pakistan to leave out middle-order batsman Azhar Ali for the first time since he made his Test debut in 2010 and played in Pakistan's all 31 Test matches.
Sri Lanka also awarded Test cap to Sachithra Senanayake and preferred him over fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara in a hope the wicket would suit slow bowlers as the game progresses.