LONDON - Younus Khan's superb double century and three wickets from Yasir Shah left Pakistan eyeing a series-levelling win after they dominated the third day of the fourth Test against England at The Oval on Saturday.

Younus's 218 was the centrepiece of Pakistan's first-innings 542 all out. His sixth innings of 200 or more in Test cricket was a dramatic way for the 38-year-old to end a run of low scores. Younus had managed just 122 runs in six previous innings this series, with a best of 33 in Pakistan's first Test win at Lord's.

Leg-spinner Shah then took three wickets for four runs in 22 balls as England, in their second innings, slumped to 88 for four at the close -- still runs 126 behind. Gary Ballance was four not out and Jonny Bairstow 14 not out. England now needed something remarkable if they were to deny Pakistan victory with two days left in the game.

If the four-match series ends 2-2, Pakistan could go top of the world Test rankings but England must avoid defeat at The Oval to keep their hopes of replacing Australia at the summit alive. England, 214 runs adrift on first innings, suffered a setback early in their second knock when captain Alastair Cook (seven) was squared up by a lifting Wahab Riaz delivery and debutant Iftikhar Ahmed, going to his right, held a good catch at first slip.

Alex Hales had been fined for showing dissent towards the third umpire after being caught by Shah in the first innings. Saturday saw him fall lbw for 12 to Shah's sixth ball of the day, with England wasting a review in the process.  His exit left Nottinghamshire opener Hales with a series tally of just 145 runs at an average of 18.12.

James Vince, yet to make a Test fifty, was in even greater need of a score to cement his place in the side. But instead he was out for nought when he chipped Shah, England's tormentor-in-chief across London at Lord's, to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq at short extra-cover. Vince's 158 runs at 22.57 this series left his Test future open to question.

Joe Root, one of England's key batsmen along with Cook, then fell for 39 when he played back to a quicker Shah delivery and was lbw. England, perhaps because it was Root, reviewed but it was another wasted challenge and the hosts were 74 for four, with Shah's stumps figures of three for 15 in seven overs a testament to his effectiveness.

Pakistan resumed on 340 for six after Asad Shafiq (109) and Younus (101 not out) had both compiled impressive centuries. Sarfraz Ahmed, 17 not out overnight, was the initial aggressor on Saturday and his typically brisk 44 meant there was no problem in Younus taking 13 balls to add his first run Saturday. Younus later received excellent support from Mohammad Amir in a ninth-wicket stand of 97 as the tailender frustrated England with a Test-best 39 not out.

Veteran batsman Younus went to 150 by pulling paceman Stuart Broad for four. Curiously, despite the overcast conditions after lunch, Cook brought on part-time spinner Root and often expensive specialist off-break bowler Moeen Ali for eight consecutive overs from the Pavilion End. Younus completed his double hundred in style when he advanced down the pitch to drive Ali for a fourth six in 281 balls.

Amir took 24 balls to get off the mark but did so in dashing fashion when he hoisted Ali for six over deep midwicket. England eventually ended the partnership when James Anderson's yorker-length delivery struck Younus on the pad and South African umpire Marais Erasmus gave him out lbw. Younus reviewed but replays showed the ball just clipping leg stump. He walked off to a standing ovation from the Oval crowd after batting for more than seven-and-a-half hours in a 308-ball innings featuring 31 fours and four sixes.

Scoreboard

ENGLAND 1ST INNINGS: 328

PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS:

(OVERNIGHT: 340-6):

Sami Aslam lbw b Broad 3

Azhar Ali c Bairstow b Ali 49

Yasir Shah c Root b Finn 26

Asad Shafiq c Broad b Finn 109

Younus lbw b Anderson 218

Misbah c Hales b Woakes 15

Iftikhar c Ali b Woakes 4

Sarfraz c Bairstow b Woakes 44

Wahab st Bairstow b Ali 4

M Aamir not out 39

Sohail Khan c Broad b Finn 2

EXTRAS: (b18, lb6, w3, nb2) 29

TOTAL: (all out, 146 overs) 542

FOW: 1-3, 2-52, 3-127, 4-277, 5-316, 6-320, 7-397, 8-434, 9-218, 10-542.

BOWLING: Anderson 29-10-78-1; Broad 29-5-99-1; Finn 30-1-110-3; Woakes 30-8-82-3; Ali 23-1-128-2; Root 5-0-21-0.

ENGLAND 2ND INNINGS:

A Cook c Iftikhar b Wahab 7

A Hales lbw b Yasir Shah 12

J Root lbw b Yasir Shah 39

J Vince c Misbah b Yasir Shah 0

G Ballance not out 4

J Bairstow not out 14

EXTRAS: (b4, lb5, nb3) 12

TOTAL: (4 wkts, 31 overs) 88

FOW: 1-14, 2-49, 3-55, 4-74

BOWLING: Amir 10-3-30-0; Sohail 8-2-18-0; Riaz 4-0-15-1 (3nb); Shah 7-1-15-3; Iftikhar 2-1-1-0;

TOSS: England

UMPIRES: Bruce Oxenford (AUS), Marais Erasmus (RSA)

TV UMPIRE: Joel Wilson (WIS)

MATCH REFEREE: Richie Richardson (WIS)

TOSS: England

UMPIRES: Bruce Oxenford (AUS), Marais Erasmus (RSA)

TV UMPIRE: Joel Wilson (WIS)

MATCH REFEREE: Richie Richardson (WIS)

Most Test scores of 200 or more

Player Span Mat Runs HS Ave 100 50 0 200s

D Bradman (Aus) 1928-1948 52 6996 334 99.94 29 13 7 12

K Sangakkara (SL) 2000-2015 134 12400 319 57.40 38 52 11 11

B Lara (ICC/WI) 1990-2006 131 11953 400* 52.88 34 48 17 9

W Hammond (Eng) 1927-1947 85 7249 336* 58.45 22 24 4 7

M Jayawardene (SL) 1997-2014 149 11814 374 49.84 34 50 15 7

M Atapattu (SL) 1990-2007 90 5502 249 39.02 16 17 22 6

V Sehwag (ICC/India) 2001-2013 104 8586 319 49.34 23 32 16 6

Javed Miandad (Pak) 1976-1993 124 8832 280* 52.57 23 43 6 6

Younus Khan (Pak) 2000-2016 108* 9456 313 53.72 32 30 16 6

R Ponting (Aus) 1995-2012 168 13378 257 51.85 41 62 17 6

S Tendulkar (India) 1989-2013 200 15921 248* 53.78 51 68 14 6