Left-arm paceman Junaid Khan chipped in with a maiden five-wicket haul to help Pakistan bundle Sri Lanka for a mere 197-run total on the first day of the opening Test here on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old, playing in only his second Test, with 5-38 and was ably supported by pace partner Umar Gul (2-37) and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal (2-56) after Pakistan put Sri Lanka into bat on a greenish Abu Dhabi stadium pitch.
Pakistan finished the day at 27-0, with Mohammad Hafeez on 17 and Taufiq Umar unbeaten on eight.
Sri Lanka, who were confidently placed at 51-1 at lunch, could never recover from the loss of six wickets for 65 runs between lunch and tea, as Khan produced a burst of three wickets in the space of just five deliveries.
Vice-captain Angelo Mathews cracked four boundaries and a six in a fighting unbeaten 52 to avoid total disaster, putting up innings' highest partnership with Suranga Lakmal of 54 after Sri Lanka were tottering at 114-7.
Paceman Aizaz Cheema (1-51) had opened the gates by dismissing former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara (two) in the second over after lunch, forcing an edge off the left-hander which was smartly held by a diving keeper Adnan Akmal.
Opener Tharanga Paranavitana then gloved a short-pitch delivery off Gul to Akmal to leave the Islanders struggling at 79-3. Paranavitana hit three boundaries during his patient knock of 37.
Skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan, who demoted himself to number five against Australia last month, hit the first ball he faced for a boundary and added 33 with Paranavitana before Sri Lanka lost the way.
Dilshan was unlucky to be given out, caught behind off Ajmal by New Zealand umpire Tony Hill when replays showed he clearly missed the ball.
Khan then ripped through the middle-order, dismissing Mahela Jayawardene (28) with the third ball of his ninth over, had Parasanna Jayawardene (nought) three balls later and then Rangana Herath (nought) off the first ball of his next.
Khan expressed delight at his performance.
"The ball was seaming and I am happy that I played my part well, but all bowlers did bowl perfectly as you can't get the whole team out with one man's effort," said Khan.
Mathews said getting out for a low score was disappointing.
"It was disappointing because the pitch was good for batting," said Mathews, who hit his fourth fifty in the last five innings. "Still, four days are left in this match so I am sure we will stage a comeback."
Khan, who took only one wicket in his debut Test against Zimbabwe last month, returned for his third spell to take the last two wickets, getting Chanaka Welegedara (11) and debutant Nuwan Pradeep (one) to wrap up the innings.
Before Khan's final acts, Gul had dismissed Lakamal (18) to end Sri Lanka's resistance.
Khan, preferred over more experienced Wahab Riaz, justified his selection as both Pakistan and Sri Lanka decided to enter with three pacemen and one specialist spinner, with the Islanders giving debut to Nuwan Prasad.
In the first session Sri Lankan openers were cautious, as Misbah brought on spinner Hafeez in the eighth over. But it was Ajmal who gave the breakthrough dismissing opener Lahiru Thirimanne for 20 before lunch.
The three Test series was shifted to United Arab Emirates after Sri Lanka refused an invitation to tour Pakistan in the wake of terrorists attacks on a military base in Karachi in May this year.