Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq takes evasive action [AFP]
Misbah-ul-Haq scored a half-century to lead Pakistan's fightback after a middle-order slump at the close of day three in the third and final test match against India.

Misbah's unbeaten 54, and his unbroken 81-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Kamran Akmal (32 not out), helped Pakistan reach 369 for five, just 58 runs short of avoiding a follow-on after India's mammoth 626 run first innings total.

The duo rescued Pakistan with centuries in the drawn second test when it faced a similar follow-on situation.

This time, Pakistan was on 288-5 at the start of their partnership after the departure of stand-in captain Younis Khan (80), Mohammad Yousuf (24) and Faisal Iqbal (22).

Misbah lasted 3 1/4 hours, hitting eight boundaries off 162 deliveries, while Akmal's defiant 90-minute innings contained seven fours from 57 balls.

India generous

India earned the dubious distinction of conceding 70 extras, surpassing its previous test innings record of 60 against England in 1979.

Extras made the second-highest contribution to the Pakistan innings.

"The first session tomorrow will be crucial as the ball does something in the morning," said Sourav Ganguly, who claimed the day's first wicket and scored 239 for India in its first innings.

"They have the last pair of specialist batsmen at the crease. If we get an early wicket it will be difficult for the lower-order batsmen."

India is seeking its first home test series against Pakistan in 28 years.

India won the opening test match in New Delhi by six wickets.

Resuming at 86-1 on a tame wicket, the overnight pair of Khan and Salman Butt carried the innings to 149 until part-time seam seamer Ganguly broke the 90-run partnership by inducing an edge from Butt to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.

Butt struck 13 boundaries off 149 deliveries.

Khan falls short

Khan then put on 72 runs for the third wicket with Yousuf before they both were out in quick succession trying to play ambitious strokes.

Leading Pakistan in the absence of injured tour captain Shoaib Malik, Khan was looking good for his 16th century in 58 tests, the second in successive test innings, when he tried to reverse sweep a straight delivery from Harbhajan Singh.

He failed to connect and turned around to see his shattered stumps.

Executing some fluent drives, Khan even reverse swept offspinner Harbhajan Singh for four, but fell in trying to repeat the stroke.

His 156-ball knock featured 12 boundaries.

Seamer Irfan Pathan then had Yousuf (24) caught in the gully by Yuvrav Singh to ignite India's hopes of forcing a follow-on.

Misbah then featured in two half-century partnerships, adding 61 runs for the fifth wicket with Iqbal before Akmal came in.

Iqbal was caught by Gautam Gambhir at short-leg off young pacer Ishant Sharma, who was playing only his second test match.

Source: Agencies