In-form opening batter Abdullah Shafique and veteran Azhar Ali led Pakistan to 90-1 after Australia was bowled out for 391 on the second day of the third and final test on Tuesday.
Recalled 19-year-old fast-bowler Naseem Shah took 4-58 as his relentless pace and reverse swing helped to dismiss Australia at the stroke of tea.
Australia could snare the wicket of only Imam-ul-Haq for 11 on a slow pitch before Shafique and Azhar shared a gritty 70-run stand in two hours. Shafique made an unbeaten 45 and Azhar reached 30 until play was called off due to bad light five overs before the scheduled end.
Pakistan trailed by 301 runs in the series-deciding test.
Captain Pat Cummins had Imam trapped off his first delivery from round the wicket when he switched bowling ends after Pakistan crawled to 20 runs in the first 12 overs.
Shafique scored his maiden test hundred in the drawn first test and followed with 96 in the epic drawn second test.
Earlier, sedate half-centuries by Cameron Green and Alex Carey earned them Australia’s highest sixth-wicket stand in Pakistan, worth 135.
Allrounder Green made 79 in his 12th test match and Carey scored 67 in nearly three hours against the persistent reverse swing from Naseem and Shaheen Shah Afridi, who also picked 4-79.
Naseem bowled his heart out in 31 overs of disciplined bowling in hot conditions as he and Afridi wrapped up Australia’s tailenders. Pakistan claimed the last five wickets for 50 runs.
Green and Carey came together late Monday. With Australia on 232-5, it added 88 runs on Tuesday in the first session, when both reached their fifties.
Left-hander Carey successfully overturned a controversial caught behind decision. Umpire Aleem Dar adjudged Carey out on 27 off Hasan Ali’s full-pitched delivery, but the video suggested that the ball missed Carey’s bat and might have clipped the off stump as wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan caught the bumped ball.
Carey raised his second half-century on the tour off 73 balls when he smashed two successive boundaries in offspinner Sajid Khan’s one over before pushing the ball to wide mid-on for a single.
Green, resuming on 20, reached his half-century off 117 balls when he drove past a diving Sajid for two runs.
Pakistan broke them up in the fourth over after lunch.
Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali ended their stand when Carey was plumb leg before wicket as the batter tried to play across the line and was hit on the front pad. Carey faced 105 balls and dominated the spinners with his reverse sweep shots.
Green showed lots of patience and used his feet well against the spinners during his 163-ball knock that spanned well over 3 1/2 hours.
Naseem, who replaced allrounder Faheem Ashraf in the only change to Pakistan from the second test, denied Green his maiden test hundred when he clean bowled the tall right-hander off a delivery which shaped into the batter and hit the stumps through a big gap between bat and pad.