Mohammed Rizwan hit a fifty as Pakistan frustrated England on day two of the second Test in Southampton.
Joe Root’s England managed to break Babar Azam’s momentum after lunch, after the key Pakistan batsman was caught behind from Stuart Broad’s delivery on 47.
But a ninth wicket stand of 39 has left England frustrated at tea and needing two more wickets to end their opponents’ first innings.
Dom Sibley ran out Shaheen Afridi with a direct hit for a duck after lunch, while Yasir Shah was caught behind by Jos Buttler from Jimmy Anderson’s delivery.
A blast of three for 18 on the first evening had swung things firmly in the home side’s favour, leaving the batting side in a hole on 126 for five before rain, bad light and lightning combined to halt the charge.
Another 90 minutes were lost to morning showers at the Ageas Bowl but a 12.30pm start was eventually possible with Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan seeing their team to 155 for five at the rescheduled lunch break.
Under dark skies and with the floodlights on from the beginning it was a thankless task for Babar and Rizwan to undertake but the pair knuckled down to add 29 to the total.
Babar, the last specialist batsman standing, is a born stroke-maker but judged the conditions astutely and frequently left the ball as England probed away outside his off stump, shelving temporarily his impressive array of drives.
Instead he moved his overnight score of 25 to 45 through low-risk nudges off his pads and a couple of well-timed boundaries, one clean pull off Chris Woakes and a straighter push off James Anderson.
Anderson and Woakes turned in a tidy opening spell, occasionally beating the outside edge but a wild swing from Rizwan off the latter was as close as they came to drawing a chance.
Joe Root turned to Stuart Broad and Sam Curran next and it was the left-armer who almost conjured the breakthrough, Babar defending on the back foot and seeing the ball bounce clear of the stumps after cannoning into the pitch on 40.
Rizwan took it upon himself to take the remainder of the innings in hand, playing plenty of shots and picking up timely singles to protect his new partner Mohammed Abbas.
Between them they lifted the total beyond 200, Afridi an entirely passive partner in the scoring, with Rizwan bringing up his half-century off 104 deliveries.
The ninth-wicket partnership was up to 35 before Abbas scored his first runs, nicking Broad in front of slip and scuttling through as the ball squirmed past Root.
The umpires made the surprising decision to head for the pavilion 15 minutes before the scheduled tea break, with the score at 215 for eight.