Abu Dhabi: Kumar Sangakkara and opener Lahiru Thirimanne hit fighting half-centuries to keep Pakistan`s victory bid at bay on the fourth day of the opening
Test at Abu Dhabi stadium here on Friday.
Sangakkara was unbeaten on 62 and Thirimanne on 59 not out as Sri Lanka, trailing by 314 runs on the first innings, reached 125-1 in their second outing by lunch, needing another 189 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Pakistan had their chances in the morning session but they spurned as many as five catches, three of Thirimanne which helped the opener to post his maiden half-century.
Paceman Junaid Khan, who destroyed Sri Lanka with 5-38 in their first innings of 197, was the unlukcy bowler on three occasions as Mohammad Hafeez grassed two regulation catches in the slip off Thirimanne when he was on 40.
Much to Khan`s disappointment Younis Khan held a sharp edge off Sangakkara but the catch was disallowed by the umpires as the ball had bounced before getting into the hands of the slip fielder.
Thirimanne again escaped when Hafeez failed to catch a sharp cut when the left-handed opener was on 57.
Sangakkara was the fist to get to his fifty, when he took a single off the luckless Khan -- his 37th in a glorious career of 107 Tests. He has so far hit seven boundaries off 114 balls.
Thirimanne reached his maiden fifty with a single off Saeed Ajmal. He has so far hit four boundaries.
Pakistan again let off Sangakkara when Younis failed to hold onto a sharp edge when a Saeed Ajmal`s delivery surprised the left-handed batsman batting on 56.
The remaining two Tests of the series will be played in Dubai (October 26-30) and Sharjah (November 3-7).