KARACHI, Jan 31 (AFP): India's seasoned batsmen faced a test of character to save the series after Pakistan took a vice-like grip on the decisive third Test here on Tuesday.
The hosts, led by Faisal Iqbal's maiden century, staged a commanding batting performance on the third day to take their second innings to 511-5 by stumps, an overall lead of 518.
India's star line-up, led by captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, will have to bat out at least five sessions to prevent Pakistan from winning the match and the series after the first two Tests were drawn.
The Indians can seek inspiration from their hosts whose first six batsmen scored half-centuries, with Iqbal reaching his hundred in the last over of the day by pulling Anil Kumble for a boundary.
Abdul Razzaq was the other batsman at the crease on 44, having added 109 runs so far for the unbroken sixth wicket with Iqbal.
Mohammad Yousuf made 97, skipper Younis Khan 77 and Shahid Afridi 60 to build on half-centuries from openers Salman Butt (53) and Imran Farhat (57) on Monday.
Younis, leading the hosts in the absence of the injured Inzamam-ul Haq, was denied his third hundred in the series when he was dismissed for 77. He hit 11 boundaries.
Yousuf fell three short of what would also have been his third century in the series. His 97 included 12 fours.
Pakistan fell from 280-2 to 318-4, but Iqbal and Afridi pressed home the advantage by adding 84 for the fifth wicket.
Afridi smashed 60 off 46 balls, reaching his half-cenntury with two fours and a six off consecutive deliveries from Pathan.
The swashbuckling batsman was dismissed soon after tea when he tried to smash Rudra Singh out of the ground and was caught in the deep by Tendulkar.