England trail by 33 runs with six second-innings wickets remaining.

Play was limited to 54 overs on the fourth day of the fourth and final Test match yesterday because of bad light and bad temper on perceived points of principle by the Pakistan players and umpire Darrell Hair.

In that time, England had what was mostly a good day, taking their overnight score from 78 for one to 298 for four, thus reducing the large arrears to a mere 33. It was a good fightback by Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss, spoiled only by the way Pietersen tossed his wicket away.

He had scored a dazzling 96 off 113 balls, including 64 in boundaries and had Pakistan on the rack. A big century was there for the taking and, assuming he and Cook saw out the remaining 40 minutes before tea, England would have been in the healthy position of building an unlikely lead in the final session.

The match situation cried out for him to bat and bat and who knows what might have happened?

He batted beautifully for his first 80 runs but then started slogging as though it was a charity match and it was time for the next batsman to come in.

On 96, he got a wide one from Shahid Nazar and nearly did himself a mischief when he threw his bat at it, trying a wild off-side drive.

He got a nick and wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal did the rest but with Pietersen's departure went most of his side's chances of saving the match - always assuming that the fifth day would be uninterrupted.

Ian Bell joined Paul Collingwood with the arrears 54, knowing that another wicket and England would be in the hands of Chris Read, followed by the bowlers. They took no risks and added 21 in seven overs before they accepted an offer of the light, little knowing they would not face another ball in the day.

The day started 15 minutes late because drizzle at 10.45am meant the pitch could not receive its mandatory rolling until the covers were taken off at 11am.

The shortened pre-lunch session was a good one, with Strauss, Cook and Pietersen rattling up 105 runs from 26 overs. There was a stream of boundaries, before and after Strauss was given out lbw to one from Danish Kaneria that turned a mile out of the foot-holds. The captain's 54 came off 93 balls and included six fours.

In came Pietersen on a king pair. It didn't take long for him to impose himself and at lunch he and Cook had added 68, off which Pietersen's share was 44. It was high-class selective hitting off the front foot and Cook did his part by giving him the strike.

Pietersen got to 50 off 57 balls and the hundred partnership soon followed before Cook was lbw to a big inswinger from Umar Gul. His 83 was another impressive innings although he and Pietersen were dropped earlier in the day - Cook at mid-wicket when 47 and Pietersen by 'keeper Akmal when he was 16.

It was to be that sort of day for Pakistan, ending in dramas never seen before in a Test match in this country.