Usman Khawaja's superb series in the country of his birth continued but Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah ensured day one of the decisive Test between Pakistan and Australia ended finely poised.
Draws in the first two Tests set up a winner-take-all contest in Lahore, where the surface appears to have plenty in it for the bowlers to ensure a result this time around.
Shaheen's blistering start suggested as much, as the Pakistan seamer removed David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne in the space of three deliveries to leave Australia reeling on 8-2.
But Khawaja, born in Pakistan, once again excelled with the bat, he and Steve Smith leading the Australia response to help them fight back to reach 232-5 at stumps. Khawaja was denied a second century of the series, as a stunning one-handed catch at slip from Babar Azam saw him out for 91.
Bowlers have consistently had to work hard for wickets in an attritional series but when Shaheen had Warner (7) trapped lbw and Labuschagne edged a poor shot behind to fall for a duck, Pakistan had hope of blitzing their way through a frequently steadfast Australia batting order.
Any such prospect was extinguished by the partnership of Khawaja and Smith (59), the latter recording his third successive half-century as they put on 138 for the third wicket.
But Naseem had Smith trapped in front to end his hopes of converting his fifty into a hundred and Khawaja was then denied three figures by Sajid Khan and the brilliance of Babar.
An excellent length delivery from Naseem removed Travis Head for 26, though Cameron Green and Alex Carey's unbroken partnership of 26 from 42 balls gave Australia reason for hope at the close.
STUMPS: Carey and Green get through to stumps with Australia on 5-232 #PAKvAUS— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) March 21, 2022
Khawaja shows his class again
After falling three short of a hometown century at Rawalpindi in the opener, Khawaja - having hit a brilliant 160 in the second Test - again fell in the 90s here, but his consistency since returning to Test set-up in January has been remarkable. He has now scored at least 90 in five of his last eight innings.
Smith closing on 8,000
Smith did not review the delivery that ended his innings, but there must have been a great deal of temptation to do so given his dismissal left him just seven runs shy of 8,000 in the longest format.