Dubai: England face a tough run chase of 324 to win the third and final Test after Azhar Ali scored a career-best 157 for Pakistan on Sunday.
England need another 288 runs in their second innings after ending the third day on 36-0 with captain Andrew Strauss 19 not out and Alastair Cook undefeated on 15.
England lost the first two Tests and must handle the spin threat of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman to deny Pakistan a clean sweep of the series.
Cook should have been out on 4 in Umar Gul's second over, but Taufeeq Umar missed an easy catch at third slip. Strauss also survived a close lbw referral off the bowling of Mohammad Hafeez but the TV umpire upheld Simon Taufel's decision.
Earlier, Ali's 157 off 442 balls spanned almost nine hours in Pakistan's second innings score of 365 before leftarm spinner Monty Panesar (5-124) and Graeme Swann (3-101) claimed the last seven wickets for just 34 runs.
Ali featured in two productive stands, adding 216 runs with overnight century-maker Younis Khan and a further 87 runs with Misbah before England spinners hit back on either side of the tea break.
Misbah was defensive in his approach, but ensured Pakistan gradually built their lead with a painstaking 31 off 115 balls during which he hit only one boundary.
Panesar started the collapse when he had Misbah trapped leg before wicket. It was the Pakistan skipper's fifth successive lbw dismissal of the series.
Panesar, who also took seven wickets in the second Test, then started the late flurry of wickets when he had Asad Shafiq lbw - the 40th leg before wicket decision of the series - and clean bowled Adnan Akmal for zero.
Ali soon crossed his previous best ever first class score of 153 after tea before Cook held onto a sharp low catch to bring an end to the innings which included 10 fours and a six.
Panesar wrapped up the innings quickly by having last man Gul leg before wicket.
Earlier, resuming at 222-2, overnight century-maker Khan frustrated England bowlers before he was trapped lbw by Stuart Broad.
Khan went for the referral but TV umpire Shahvir Tarapore upheld onfield umpire Steve Davis' decision as replays suggested the ball would have just clipped the bails.
That brought an end to a double century stand that began before lunch on the second day before Pakistan had wiped off a first-innings deficit of 42 runs.
Khan hit 12 fours and a six in his 20th Test century and faced 221 balls in a superlative display of aggression and defence for just over five hours.
Just before Khan's dismissal England missed a chance when James Anderson found the outside edge of Ali's bat on 84, but Swann dropped a low two-handed catch at second slip.
Ali, resuming on 75, square cut Panesar for his fifth boundary of the innings to raise his second Test century off 319 balls as Pakistan progressed to 295-3 at lunch.
Strauss had no answer to the solid batting on a wicket that saw Pakistan bowled out for 99 and England also restricted to 141 in its first innings.
Kevin Pietersen was the sixth bowler used by Strauss, but his three overs of offspin could not bring reward for the top-ranked Test team before Panesar and Swann struck late in the afternoon.