England opener Alastair Cook missed a century by six runs and Jonathan Trott made a half-century before Pakistan hit back with four wickets in the last session in the second Test here on Thursday.
Cook was trapped leg-before-wicket off spinner Saeed Ajmal for 94 - his fourth nervous ninety dismissal - and added an invaluable 139 for the second wicket with Trott (74) to take England to 207-5 in reply to Pakistan's 257. Ajmal took three of those last four wickets, dismissing Kevin Pietersen (14) and Eoin Morgan (3) in the last over for the addition of four runs to bring Pakistan back into the game after Cook and Trott had foiled their bowling.
At the close on the second day, Ian Bell was unbeaten on four with England needing another 50 runs to overhaul Pakistan's first innings total on an Abu Dhabi pitch that is helping bowlers.
England, aiming to level the three-Test series after their 10-wicket defeat in the first match in Dubai and maintain their world number one ranking, will look to out-of-form Bell and the rest to give them a lead on Friday. Pakistan, meanwhile, will hope that Ajmal, who has figures of 3-67, can bowl England out early.
Brief scores: Pakistan 257 (Misbah 84, Asad Shafiq 58; Stuart Broad 4-47) England 207-5 (Alastair Cook 94, Jonathan Trott 74; Saeed Ajmal 3-67).