"No nervousness" as tricky fourth-innings chase looms - Shafiq

Dom Bess drives down the ground Getty Images

How much will be too much? It is the question that has haunted Pakistan and Pakistani fans for as long as anyone can remember, but especially over the last decade or so.

From the moment England nudged into the lead, it began. Double-figures and no worries, 120-ish and errr, 150-plus and spend the day watching from behind the couch. All manner of Tests recent and long gone come into play: Sydney, Galle, Abu Dhabi, any number of final-day collapses.

Pakistan remain confident though that, with England effectively 56 for 6, the game is still under control. The second new ball will be available two overs into the fourth morning and in the hands of Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Amir, on this surface, there is no reason to think it shouldn't reap rewards.

"No, there's no nervousness," Asad Shafiq said at the end of the day. "It [failing to chase a low total] has happened in the past a couple of times but everyone is pretty confident. We're all saying whatever target we get, we'll be confident."

Part of the reason for that may be because they did chase down their most recent low total - in Malahide against Ireland. That wasn't entirely without nerves, Pakistan losing three early wickets before Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam steadied them and all but took them home.

The key there was the fairly healthy rate at which they chased it down, in stark contrast to previous chases where they have retreated into a runs-free shell.

"We'll take confidence from the Ireland chase, definitely," Shafiq said. "Two new guys helped chase that down and the way they batted in that gave them confidence. It also gave the team confidence [in their ability to stabilise] after a few early wickets and then chase."

It is a shame that talk has turned to the total after what was, for two sessions, an outstanding collective bowling performance. The highlight was Amir's two-wicket over in the afternoon, but the discipline in that first session in sunshine and a wicket that had eased was what heaped pressure on England.

"We were very good through the day except the last couple of hours," Shafiq said. "But you'd have to give some credit to their batsmen as well, the way they handled our bowling in those last two hours. Buttler played a very mature innings, as did Bess."

But how much will be too much, factoring in that they will be a man down? For hope, people might look to 2010 (that's never been said before). That was the last time Pakistan had to chase down low totals in England and they won both times - first against Australia and then England. Further back, there was the great Test win in 1992, here at Lord's.

Irrelevant all, but something to cling to.

"Maximum 150 and ideally below that," Shafiq said. "Not happy to chase over 150."