DUBAI - Seasoned batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul Haq hit resolute half-centuries to take the fight to Sri Lanka in the second Test in Dubai on Friday.
Younis was unbeaten on 62 and Misbah scored 52 not out to help Pakistan reach 2-132 at stumps on the third day at the Dubai stadium where the pitch is likely to help spinners on the last two days.
Pakistan still need another 93 runs to avoid an innings defeat and go 1-0 down in the three-Test series after the first Test ended in a draw in Abu Dhabi.
Younis and Misbah, who both hit hundreds in Abu Dhabi last week, came together with Pakistan in dire straits at 3-19. They held the batting together during their unfinished 113-run fourth wicket stand.
"It's nice to fight back," said Younis. "I had a good partnership with Misbah when the team needed it and our first target on Saturday will be to erase the lead and then bat on."
Sri Lanka earlier gained a 223-run lead by scoring 388 in their first knock. Pakistan had made 165 in their first innings. Sri Lankan coach Graham Ford hoped his men could break through early on Saturday.
"They (Younis and Misbah) are class batsmen," said Ford. "We would love to get them early on fourth day."
It was paceman Nuwan Pradeep (2-28) who gave Pakistan the early trouble.
Pradeep, who took a career best 3-62 in the first innings, had Mohammad Hafeez (one) caught behind in his second over and in his fourth swung one across Manzoor (six) for wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene to take his seventh catch of the match.
Pakistan had lost opener Ahmed Shehzad in the last over before lunch, caught behind for nine off spinner Rangana Herath.