A watchful half century from Mohammad Yousuf guided Pakistan to what could be a sizeable first innings lead on the second afternoon of the third Test at the Oval.
Pakistan are evens to claim their first victory of the series, and having reached 215 for five at tea, the tourists should breeze past England’s score of 233.
England had Graeme Swann to thank for keeping them in touch, as the off-spinner claimed his fourth wicket of the innings, including the key scalp of Yousuf for 56.
Swann’s smart caught and bowled dismissal of Yousuf also made him the third fastest bowler to reach 100 Test wickets, behind Kapil Dev and Mitchell Johnson.
England are 7/4 to win the third Test, though Swann aside, their bowlers toiled with minimal success on a difficult second day.
It was Yousuf’s well-managed 56 from 108 balls which wore the hosts down most, and even after the veteran batsman departed, Pakistan continued the good work.
Umar Akmal joined Azhar Ali at the crease with Pakistan 179 for five, and both players batted sensibly to guide the tourists to the second interval without further loss.
Azhar Ali resumes the evening session on 42 not out. Can he go on to make a century? He is available at 11/4 to reach the landmark. See the full England vs Pakistan Match Betting Odds market.