Captain Andrew Strauss struck a century to underpin England's victory bid at Lord's - although they may still favour a conservative approach.
Strauss' 128, in his first Test as captain, meant his side lead Pakistan by 341 runs going into the final day with three wickets intact.
Despite their hefty advantage, however, and the fact Pakistan's highest chase in Test history stands at 315, England are considering batting on rather than declaring overnight.
"The pitch is still pretty good so we have to factor that into any decision we make," said Strauss, whose attacking options are limited in a four-man bowling unit.
"I am very much hoping that the cracks on the pitch widen overnight and that will hopefully put doubts into the Pakistan batsmen's minds.
"Certainly if they do open up that will make Steve Harmison hard work to play."
Whenever it comes, the start of the Pakistan innings will be crucial in shaping the outcome of the first contest of the npower series.
"Harmison did a very good job in the first innings and the variable bounce is at its greatest with the new ball," said Strauss. "It is important we take wickets with it."
Pakistan appear to have conceded only two results are now possible and are intent on reaching Old Trafford, the scene of the second Test, with scores level.
"Anything over 300 is always difficult to get on the final day of any Test match even though it is a fast outfield and a good track," said coach Bob Woolmer.
"England showed today it was pretty difficult to bat.
"I would suggest when we bat towards any sort of target it would be best to look at tea -if you have wickets in hand going into the last session and feel you can go for it you might do so but essentially we will be looking to keep the series nil all.
"We would have liked to have bowled out England and chased 270 but even then it would have been tough work."
Strauss ensured England cruised past that kind of target with few hiccups - his own part in Ian Bell's dismissal aside.
Needing a single for his ninth Test century, the Middlesex left-hander nudged to the on-side off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria and set off, leaving the diving Bell short as Inzamam-ul-Haq's throw crashed into the top of the stumps.
It evoked memories of his own debut against New Zealand here when former captain Nasser Hussain ran him out as he closed on a second three-figure score of the match.
"Being on 99 has the habit of turning sane men into idiots," Strauss reflected. "I said 'sorry mate' and told him I was an idiot: it was the same kind of thing Nasser said to me.
"He seemed to take it pretty well but if I was in his position I wouldn't be overly happy right now."
It was Strauss' third Test at his county headquarters and first of the summer.
"It was very satisfying for me, I have felt I have been batting well all season but I was getting out in the 30s and 40s and that drives you nuts," he said.
"It was important someone carried it through today and one way of leading by example as captain is getting runs and that always helps.
"I feel comfortable here: having played here for a number of years I have learnt how to deal with the slope and it is a very good pitch, probably the best to bat on in England.