Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali shared an unbroken century stand to help England open up a 311-run lead on day four of the third Test against Pakistan.
Bairstow finished the day on 82 and Moeen on 60, with their sixth-wicket partnership worth 132.
Alastair Cook (66) and Alex Hales (54) earlier fell with the score on 126 but England recovered to reach 414-5.
South Africa are the only side to successfully chase more than 211 to win a Test at Edgbaston.
Joe Root made 62 in a 95-run stand with James Vince, who batted for 123 balls to equal his best Test score of 42 before falling to Mohammad Amir (2-73).
What will happen on Sunday?
England captain Alastair Cook is expected to remain cautious with a declaration, especially on a surface that has shown few signs of deterioration.
It is likely that England will give themselves between 75 and 80 overs in which to bowl Pakistan out and secure a 2-1 series lead with one match to play.
“Alastair Cook will bat for half an hour or 40 minutes and throw the bat tomorrow,” former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott told BBC Test Match Special.
“But they could have done that tonight. They didn’t score quickly enough. When you get a flat pitch like this, which is hardly deteriorating, you need time.
“England have a chance – but Pakistan have no chance. They’ve played Pakistan out of the game so full marks for England.”
England batsman Joe Root told TMS: “I’m sure Cookie will be thinking long and hard over his meal tonight.
“If we do take early wickets, we’ve got a really good opportunity to put Pakistan under pressure.”
Former England spinner Phil Tufnell said: “If I was captain, I would have a blast tomorrow morning, try and get 40 or 50 runs sharpish. England will push hard tomorrow but it’s looking like a draw.”
Bairstow leads England fightback
In conditions offering little swing, Bairstow went on the attack, plundering 51 of his runs on the off side in his 124-ball innings.
He and Moeen came together with England 282-5, when the lead was 179, after Ballance (28) was caught at leg slip off Yasir Shah after tea.
Bairstow’s strike-rate was just over 66, and helped England add 152 in the last session for the loss of just one wicket, after the hosts had scored 142 and lost four wickets over the first two sessions.
Bairstow reached his eighth Test half-century off 83 balls, while Moeen, despite taking 16 deliveries to get off the mark, reached his seventh Test fifty in only 64 balls, milking Yasir for five fours.
The pair’s 132-run stand came in just 27.3 overs and ensured Pakistan’s occasional successes from the morning and afternoon were negated.
Earlier, Cook and Hales fell inside the first five overs after adding just six to the overnight 120-0.
The England captain was caught by a diving Yasir at point off Sohail Khan, before Hales, pushing at one from Amir, was caught by Younus Khan at second slip.
England’s scoring rate in the first two sessions was less than 3.5 an over, with Vince and Root’s third-wicket stand taking the best part of 36 overs.
‘Jonny & Moeen put on a show’ – what they said
England batsman Joe Root on TMS: “The way that Jonny and Moeen played was superb. The way they went through the gears and scored so freely was imperative to us getting up to a really decent lead.
“They put on a real show of how to bat and put us in a really fantastic position.
“It’s such a brilliant atmosphere at Edgbaston – they’re like a 12th man for us at times. Fingers crossed loads of people come tomorrow and we have a similar type of atmosphere.”
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott: “England have shown character and mental toughness to come back.
“They’ve done well but they don’t have that confidence, that conviction to say, ‘we’ve got our noses in front, let’s go for the win’. Unfortunately, it’s not in Alastair’s make-up, the cautious man that he is.”
Pakistan spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed: “I don’t know what England are going to do but the pitch is still flat. We have to play positive.
“We need good partnerships, the opening stand has to be very good. If we can survive the new ball we can sit down at lunch and see what we can do.”
The stats you need to know
- South Africa are the only team to successfully chase 211-plus in a Test at Edgbaston, making 283-5 to beat England in 2008.
- Jonny Bairstow has scored 855 Test runs in 2016, the most by a England wicketkeeper in a calendar year, beating Matt Prior’s record of 777 in 2012.
- Moeen Ali has made a fifty in each of his three Test innings at Edgbaston.
- James Vince has got out four times between 35 and 42 in his nine Test innings.
- Yasir Shah has taken 90 wickets in his first 15 Tests, passing George Lohmann’s record 89 dating back to the 1800s.
- Excluding the ‘forfeiture’ match against Pakistan at The Oval in 2006, England have won only five Tests when they have batted first and trailed by more than 100 runs.
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