Sharjah: Dilruwan Perera and captain Angelo Mathews just missed centuries before Sri Lanka declared their first innings at a strong 428-9 against Pakistan on the second day of the decisive third Test on Friday.
Pakistan were 19 without loss at stumps and were in a tight corner to level the series after losing the second Test by nine wickets.
Perera made a brilliant 95 with 12 fours and two sixes and Mathews was out for a more pedestrian 91 with five fours and a six to quash Pakistan hopes of restricting Sri Lanka after it resumed from 220-5 overnight.
The Pakistan bowlers' agonising day on a flat pitch was summed up when Perera added 72 runs with Shaminda Eranga (25 not out) before a rare lapse of concentration saw him top edge Mohammad Talha (3-99).
Mathews earlier put on 112 runs with Perera in nearly three and a half hours before he sliced Junaid Khan (3-81) to deep cover just before tea.