Dubai: Australia, chasing a daunting target of 462 runs, were 136-3 at close on the fourth day of the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai on Wednesday.
Usman Khawaja was unbeaten on 50 and Travis Head 34 not out at close with Australia still needing an improbable 326 runs for victory while Pakistan need seven wickets on the final day for a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Medium pacer Mohammad Abbas took all three wickets for 26 runs. Pakistan had declared their second innings on 181-6 after resuming at 45-3.
Jon Holland took 3-83 while Nathan Lyon finished with 2-58.
Pakistan made 482 in their first innings to which Australia replied with 202.
Resuming the day at 45-3, Pakistan batsmen Imam-ul-Haq (48) and Haris Sohail (39) missed out on half-centuries but their 65-run partnership took the lead close to 400 runs.
Imam was the first to fall on the day, offering left-arm spinner Jon Holland an easy return catch.
He was soon joined in the dressing room by Sohail, who was adjudged leg before off the bowling of debutant Marnus Labuschagne after Australia sought a review of the umpire's original decision.
Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam then combined to add 71 to peg Australia back further on a Dubai pitch, which is increasingly getting difficult to bat on.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon tempted Shafiq into playing a lofty shot which was held by Mitchell Marsh at deep mid-wicket with the batsman falling on 41.
Lyon's 310th test wicket saw him join Brett Lee as the fifth leading wicket-taker for Australia in the longest format of the game.