Younus Khan's magnificent century put his side in a dominant position as he and Azhar Ali turned the third Test in Pakistan's favour on day two in Dubai.
Younus' 20th Test ton helped Pakistan overturn England's 42-run first-innings lead, and together with the obdurate Ali they put on an unbeaten 194. Ali closed on 75* with Pakistan's lead already an imposing 180.
England were earlier bowled out for 141 in the morning session, adding just 37 to their overnight score despite skipper Andrew Strauss reaching a hard working 50, as Abdur Rehman once again took five wickets.
Their bowlers briefly made the small lead look useful as the Pakistan openers were both removed by the time the score had reached 28, but they encountered Younus and Ali in stubborn mood.
With eight second innings wickets remaining, Misbah-ul-Haq's side are now favourites to complete a 3-0 whitewash against an England side who have failed to pass 200 in all but one innings in the series so far.
England began the morning with a slender lead and Strauss would have been hopeful that Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann could assist him in building a competitive score.
James Anderson, the nightwatchman, was soon bowled by Rehman plying around a straight one before Broad was trapped in front by Saeed Ajmal, who played second fiddle to Rehman, finishing with 3-59.
Strauss passed his first half-century since the Edgbaston Test against India last year but was soon stumped playing an ugly heave against Rehman as he tried to push the scoring along.
England's bowlers began the second innings in confident mood, and when Anderson had Taufeeq Umar smartly caught by Strauss at first slip, the tourists were on top.
Monty Panesar then trapped Mohammad Hafeez LBW shortly after but Younus and Ali battened down the hatches.
Younus, like most batsmen in the series, had been short of runs so far but the 34-year-old's quality is widely appreciated and he made his last knock count.
With neither Panesar or Swann able to exert much control, runs began to flow towards the end of the afternoon session as Younus unveiled a range of wristy shots.
His quick judgement of length provided a perfect example for England's failing batsmen while at the other end Ali occasionally broke from his self imposed shackles to reveal some punchy strokes.
England, in need of a victory to secure their no.1 spot in the ICC Test rankings, looked flat by the close and will need to make the new ball - just two overs old - count in the morning to stand any chance of victory.