Monty Panesar ripped through Pakistan's top order to reduce the hosts to 125 for four in their second innings at the close of the third day of the second test on Friday, 55 runs ahead of England in an interestingly poised match.
Left-arm spinner Panesar, playing his first test match since 2009, dispatched opener Mohammad Hafeez (22), captain Misbah-ul-Haq (12) and Younus Khan (1) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Panesar's exploits left Pakistan struggling on 54 for four with England looking well-placed to avenge their 10-wicket defeat in the series opener last week.
However, batsmen Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali dug in, roared on by the team's passionate support as they put on an unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 71.
"I think Monty bowled really well - the different angle has been important with their right-handed batsmen because he can trap them on the crease and get the lbws and bowled," team mate Stuart Broad said.
"He was nervous the first day, but today he grew and grew and I think he's going to be important holding them tomorrow and then attacking later on. We're two (wickets) from their tail and we know with the new ball we can mop them up if we need to."
Brief scores: Pakistan 125-4 ( Shafiq 35 batting, Ali 46 batting; Monty Panesar 3-44) & 257 v England 327