James Taylor hit a maiden half-century in his comeback match to bolster England to 222-4 at stumps on the second day of the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah.

The 25-year-old, playing his first Test since 2012, kept Pakistan at bay with an unbeaten 74 and found an able ally in Jonny Bairstow (37 not out) as the two put on an invaluable 83 for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand.

That leaves England just 12 behind Pakistan's first-innings total of 234 with six wickets intact as they hope to gain a decisive lead in their bid to level the three-match series.

Pakistan lead the series 1-0 after winning the second Test in Dubai while the first Test ended in a draw in Abu Dhabi.

Taylor kept England in the hunt as he survived a keen tussle between bat and ball, with Pakistan's spin duo Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar threatening to take wickets.

But Taylor, playing his first Test since his two debut Tests against South Africa three years ago, batted with resolve, using his feet and sweeping to blunt the spin.

He pushed paceman Wahab Riaz for a single to reach his first half century off 100 balls. He has so far hit six boundaries during his 141-ball fight.

For Pakistan, Shah took 2-79 while Babar went wicket-less in his 25 overs and even a second new ball at 181-4 failed to dislodge the Taylor-Bairstow partnership.

Source: AFP