Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilina Kandamby hit half-centuries to help Sri Lanka reach a challenging 290-8 in the second day-night international against Pakistan in Karachi on Wednesday.
Dilshan made an impressive 76 and Kandamby 59 for his maiden fifty to give impetus to the innings during their 99-run third wicket stand after Sri Lanka were sent into bat by Pakistan.
Chamara Kapugedera hit two boundaries and as many sixes in his rapid 39-ball 44 and skipper Mahela Jayawardene chipped in with 24 to bolster the tourists, who are trailing 1-0 in the three-match series.
Pakistan won the first match by eight wickets here on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka raced to 43 without loss as Sanath Jayasuriya (19) and Dilshan cut loose against some wayward bowling by Pakistan.
Akhtar was hit for four boundaries, two each by Dilshan and Jayasuriya, in his second over, which yielded 17 runs. The injury-prone paceman went for 45 runs in his six overs, dismissing Dilshan for his only wicket.
Jayasuriya was out when he went back to play a short delivery from paceman Umar Gul, while Kumar Sangakkara (16) was run out.
From 66-2, Dilshan and Kandamby steadied the innings. Dilshan hit 11 boundaries during his 88-ball knock before hooking straight into the hands of deep square-leg in the 30th over.
The 26-year-old Kandamby, playing only his sixth one-day, batted with resolve, hitting four boundaries off 79 balls. His previous best of 40 came against Zimbabwe at Harare last year.
Kandamby added another 41 for the fourth wicket with Jayawardene.
Rao Iftikhar, who took four wickets on Tuesday, had Kandamby caught by Shoaib Malik at short cover before Gul accounted for Jayawardene, caught behind by Kamran Akmal.
Gul was the pick of Pakistan bowlers with 4-58.