England lost the key wicket of their skipper Andrew Strauss early in their second innings to leave them hard pressed in their bids to save the first Test against Pakistan at Dubai Stadium on Thursday.
Strauss was adjudged caught behind off paceman Umar Gul for six in the fifth over of their second knock.
The wicket fell before England reached 16-1 at lunch on the third day of the match, after Pakistan were dismissed for 338 in their first innings.
Strauss instantly challenged the verdict but was left to trudge off the field after television umpire Steve Davis of Australia upheld the original decision, leaving England in a spot of bother.
At the break Alastair Cook was batting on two and Jonathan Trott was eight not out. England still need 130 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
In the morning wicket-keeper batsman Adnan Akmal boosted Pakistan's lead to 146 with a gutsy half-century.
The 26-year-old right-hander scored a career best 61 for his second Test half-century to take his team to 338, adding another 50 runs after Pakistan resumed at 288-7.
Pakistan were in danger of being shot out early as they lost Gul (nought) in the second over of the day when Stuart Broad forced an edge to gully where Eoin Morgan held an easy catch.
Adnan, who hit eight boundaries during his 129-ball knock, kept the pressure on England with a pugnacious 30-run stand for the ninth wicket with Saeed Ajmal who made 12.
Graeme Swann, who finished with 4-107, removed Ajmal with a sharp spinning delivery that caught the glove and landed in the safe hands of Cook at forward short-leg.
Adnan swept Swann twice for boundaries and then edged the same bowler through the slips for a couple to reach his fifty. His previous best of 53 came against Bangladesh in Dhaka last month.
Adnan was finally dismissed, stumped by keeper Matt Prior as he jumped out of the crease to drive Swann but completely missed the ball.
Broad finished with 3-84 and James Anderson took 2-71.