London: Younis Khan's superb double century and three wickets from Yasir Shah left Pakistan eyeing a series-levelling win after they dominated the third day of the fourth Test against England at The Oval on Saturday.
Younis's 218 was the centrepiece of Pakistan's first-innings 542 all out.
His sixth innings of 200 or more in Test cricket was a dramatic way for the 38-year-old to end a run of low scores.
Younis had managed just 122 runs in six previous innings this series, with a best of 33 in Pakistan's first Test win at Lord's.
Leg-spinner Shah then took three wickets for four runs in 22 balls as England, in their second innings, slumped to 88 for four at the close -- still runs 126 behind.
Gary Ballance was four not out and Jonny Bairstow 14 not out.
England now needed something remarkable if they were to deny Pakistan victory with two days left in the game.
If the four-match series ends 2-2, Pakistan could go top of the world Test rankings but England must avoid defeat at The Oval to keep their hopes of replacing Australia at the summit alive.
England, 214 runs adrift on first innings, suffered a setback early in their second knock when captain Alastair Cook (seven) was squared up by a lifting Wahab Riaz delivery and debutant Iftikhar Ahmed, going to his right, held a good catch at first slip.
Alex Hales had been fined for showing dissent towards the third umpire after being caught by Shah in the first innings.
Saturday saw him fall lbw for 12 to Shah's sixth ball of the day, with England wasting a review in the process.
His exit left Nottinghamshire opener Hales with a series tally of just 145 runs at an average of 18.12.
James Vince, yet to make a Test fifty, was in even greater need of a score to cement his place in the side.
But instead he was out for nought when he chipped Shah, England's tormentor-in-chief across London at Lord's, to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq at short extra-cover.
Vince's 158 runs at 22.57 this series left his Test future open to question.
Joe Root, one of England's key batsmen along with Cook, then fell for 39 when he played back to a quicker Shah delivery and was lbw.
England, perhaps because it was Root, reviewed but it was another wasted challenge and the hosts were 74 for four, with Shah's stumps figures of three for 15 in seven overs a testament to his effectiveness.
Pakistan resumed on 340 for six after Asad Shafiq (109) and Younis (101 not out) had both compiled impressive centuries.
Sarfraz Ahmed, 17 not out overnight, was the initial aggressor on Saturday and his typically brisk 44 meant there was no problem in Younis taking 13 balls to add his first run Saturday.
Younis later received excellent support from Mohammad Amir in a ninth-wicket stand of 97 as the tailender frustrated England with a Test-best 39 not out.
Veteran batsman Younis went to 150 by pulling paceman Stuart Broad for four.
Curiously, despite the overcast conditions after lunch, Cook brought on part-time spinner Root and often expensive specialist off-break bowler Moeen Ali for eight consecutive overs from the Pavilion End.
Younis completed his double hundred in style when he advanced down the pitch to drive Ali for a fourth six in 281 balls.
Amir took 24 balls to get off the mark but did so in dashing fashion when he hoisted Ali for six over deep midwicket.
England eventually ended the partnership when James Anderson's yorker-length delivery struck Younis on the pad and South African umpire Marais Erasmus gave him out lbw.
Younis reviewed but replays showed the ball just clipping leg stump.
He walked off to a standing ovation from the Oval crowd after batting for more than seven-and-a-half hours in a 308-ball innings featuring 31 fours and four sixes
Published Date: Aug 14, 2016 02:11 am | Updated Date: Aug 14, 2016 02:11 am