Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara struck fluent centuries as the Sri Lankan top order punished Pakistan's wayward bowlers on the opening day of the first Test on Friday.
Dilshan (101) scored his 13th Test century and Sangakkara remained unbeaten after his 29th to power Sri Lanka to 300 for two wickets at stumps and vindicate skipper Mahela Jayawardene's decision to bat first.
Sangakkara, who has an 80-plus batting average against Pakistan, was unbeaten on 111 scored off 194 balls with the help of 13 fours. He added 113 runs for the third wicket with Jayawardene, who was unbeaten on 55, having survived a strong leg before appeal at 21 off Umar Gul.
Sangakkara ran a risky single to draw level with Australian great Don Bradman on 29 Test centuries. The left-hander had to dive flat on his face to avoid getting run out.
Pakistan took the second new ball in the 85th over but they only managed to restrict the scoring rate with nine runs scored off the last five overs.
"They really looked like they had some plans against us. As a bowling unit we have to rethink our bowling strategy and we will have to come up with something new," Pakistan stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez told reporters.
"The outfield is a bit quicker, once the ball goes past the inner circle it goes for a boundary. We are very happy we restricted them to 300," he said.
"I will give some credit to Dilshan and Sanga the way they played in these conditions."
Sri Lanka first innings
T Paranavitana st Akmal b Ajmal 24
T Dilshan lbw b Ajmal 101
K Sangakkara not out 111
M Jayawardene not out 55
Total (two wickets, 90 overs) 300
Fall of wickets: 1-63. 2-187.
Still to bat: T. Samaraweera, A. Mathews, P. Jayawardene, N. Kulasekera, R. Herath, S. Randiv, N. Pradeep.
Bowling: Gul 17-4-55-0 (nb-2), Junaid 11-3-39-0, Hafeez 8-1-29-0, Ajmal 24-4-81-2, Rehman 30-6-89-0.
Sangakkara and Dilshan batted assuredly against a Pakistan attack looking helpless on a pitch that had some bounce and turn and added 124 runs for the second wicket to lay the foundation for a big total.
Dilshan cracked 13 fours and a six in his 180-ball knock before Saeed Ajmal (2-81) removed him in the penultimate over before tea.
With Pakistan's new ball bowlers Umar Gul and Junaid Khan failing to exploit the early life on the pitch, Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana (24) put together a 63-run opening stand to set the tone.
Ajmal gave Pakistan their only breakthrough of the morning session when he had Paranavitana stumped by wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal off his fifth delivery.
Azhar Ali, at silly point, had dropped a bat-pad chance offered by Paranavitana off Ajmal's third delivery.
After the productive morning session, Dilshan looked equally fluent on the other side of the lunch break. Once he reached 81, Dilshan's next five scoring shots were all boundaries as he raced to 101 before off-spinner Ajmal trapped him leg before with a flighted delivery.
"I am really satisfied with this knock against a very good bowling unit. I really enjoyed my batting today," said Dilshan.
"Overall I think we handled this quality attack pretty well."
Pakistan's regular captain Misbah-ul-Haq is serving a one-Test ban because of his team's slow over rate in Monday's one-dayer in Colombo.