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England battling hard in third Test

updated 11:21 AM EST, Sun February 5, 2012
 Azhar Ali scored a Test-best 157 to leave Pakistan in a winning position against England.
Azhar Ali scored a Test-best 157 to leave Pakistan in a winning position against England.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • England are battling hard to avoid defeat in the third Test against Pakistan
  • At close of play on day three, England had reached 36 for no wicket in Dubai
  • Pakistan made 365 in their second innings, leaving England 324 for victory

(CNN) -- England will have to achieve the second-highest run chase in their history, after being left a mountain to climb by Pakistan at the end of the third day of the third Test in Dubai.

Chasing an unlikely 324 for victory, England's openers Andrew Strauss (19) and Alastair Cook (15) safely negotiated the final 20 overs as they ended the day on 36-0, still needing another 288 runs for victory.

Pakistan should have amassed a bigger total for England to chase, losing their last seven wickets for just 34 runs earlier in the day after looking comfortable on 331-4, to finish on 365 all out.

Azhar Ali helped himself to a Test-best score of 157, becoming the second Pakistani to reach a century in their second innings following Younis Khan's 127.

Ali told reporters: "We are 100% confident of a win.

We have to take 10 wickets and for that we look to our spinners, who have done really well in the series."
Azhar Ali

"But having said that we have to take 10 wickets and for that we look to our spinners, who have done really well in the series."

England will take heart from a pitch that appears to be easing significantly, following the drama of the opening day when 16 wickets fell.

Pakistan were bowled out for just 99 on that remarkable opening day and, should they win, they will become the first side to win a Test after being bowled out for under 100 since England achieved that feat against South Africa in 1907.

A Pakistan victory will also ensure they complete a 3-0 series whitewash after winning the first two Tests by 10 wickets and 72 runs respectively.

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