Some poor fielding by Pakistan helped England keep alive hope of avoiding a series whitewash on the fourth day of the third and final test in Dubai on Monday.

However, England remain a long way off the victory target of 324 set by Pakistan with Alastair Cook (41 not out) and Kevin Pietersen (one not out) at the crease as the tourists reached 89 for two in their second innings when lunch was called.

To avoid a 3-0 series whitewash, England will have to record their second-highest second innings run chase after they made 332 to beat Australia in 1928.

The chase remains on though after luck and some poor fielding slowed the Pakistan charge.

Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal was guilty of putting down a regulation catch after England captain Andrew Strauss, who was on 26, edged behind a beautiful delivery by seamer Umar Gul.

The skipper, however, failed to make the most of his good fortune as he exited in the next over, out leg before wicket off Abdur Rehman after Strauss failed to get the decision overturned by the video umpire.

It was the 42nd lbw decision of the series, a record for a three-match contest.

England opener Cook was next to profit from some poor Pakistan fielding when he was dropped by Umar Gul at deep backward square leg off Rehman while on 28. It was the second time the left-hander had been dropped in the innings after a chance was put down in the slips on Sunday by Taufeeq Umar.

However, Pakistan were celebrating again shortly after when Jonathan Trott exited for 18, caught by Rehman off the bowling of spinner Saeed Ajmal.

Should Pakistan claim victory in the third test they would become the first side for more than 100 years to score fewer than 100 in their first innings but go on to win the test.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon. Editing by Patrick Johnston)