James Taylor
Taylor made an unbeaten 74 to give England the initiative Getty Images

James Taylor struck his maiden Test match half-century to put England on the brink of securing a first innings lead against Pakistan as their dominance continued on day two of the third Test in Sharjah. The Nottinghamshire batsman marked his first appearance in the long form of the game for three years with an unbeaten 74 as part of a partnership of 83 with Jonny Bairstow (37 not out), as the visitors closed to within 12 runs of Pakistan's first innings total of 234.

The tourists lost Moeen Ali (14) early on but recovered to reach 90 for 1 before the dismissals of captain Alastair Cook (49) and world number-one batsman Joe Root for just four gave Pakistan hope they could spark a day-two collapse. Ian Bell (40) produced a dogged display but was stumped off Yasir Shah to give Younis Khan's side further encouragement.

With Ben Stokes not expected to bat in this match after undergoing a scan on a shoulder injury suffered on day one, England are a batsman light. But the relatively inexperienced pair of Taylor and Bairstow were unperturbed: the pair manoeuvred the field and nullified Shah throughout as they honed in on the Pakistan total, eventually closing on 222 for 4.

Effectively with five wickets in hand, England will look to build a substantial lead over Pakistan on day three and wear down the jaded seam attack of Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz, before unleashing their own bowlers. Pakistan lead the three-match series 1-0.