Substitute skipper Moeen Ali almost bailed England out only to be defeated by a debutant as Pakistan took control of the Twenty20 series for the first time.
The hosts were knocked out in Lahore for just 145, Mark Wood excelled again as he scored three for 20 and hit 95mph, but an English batting side missing Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone went down in game two as a result.
Moeen one-shot them to victory, failing to hit 51 in 37 balls, but newcomer Aamer Jamal grounded some superb wide Yorkers after being entrusted with the final over of the game, completing a five-run win.
After failing to reach 167 last time out, they ended with 139 for seven and slipped 3-2 down with two games left.
Both openers from England’s free-kicks fell cheaply as a modest chase suffered a bumpy start, Alex Hales batted Mohammad Nawaz to a reverse point and Phil Salt pulled Haris Rauf’s first ball deep in midwicket.
Their combined return was four runs from nine balls, enough to have England pondering a seemingly simple equation.
Ben Duckett seemed to have the answers, stroking two of his first four deliveries to the limit, but he was gone for 10 when he threw Mohammad Wasim’s bat wide and failed to clear the deep third.
Dawid Malan was the last man standing from the top order but lived on his luck as he mixed a handful of boundaries with even more plays and misses outside. He came off the power play at 25, having not really found his rhythm yet.
Any hopes that England’s top run-scorer would bring some fluency on the trip ended when Harry Brook bowled around a straight from Shadab Khan and fell in pounds after a smart DRS call.
Malan had always looked like an unlikely savior, keeping up rather than dictating and his fight ended when Iftikhar Ahmed pulled him out of the wicket one foot in front.
Sam Curran and Chris Woakes, who returned after a six-month absence, came and went but Moeen hit the ball gently enough to give his team a chance.
The question went from 49 from four overs to 15 from the last but while Moeen smashed his fourth six to ensure it would go to the final ball, it was Jamal who showed real steel as he snuck through three points .
Wood, who was resting on Sunday as England wrapped him in cotton wool ahead of next month’s World Cup, took over the third over of the day and immediately shifted into fifth gear, knocking out the dangerous Babar Azam with his fifth delivery.
Wood had made short work of the star opener in Karachi and repeated the trick here when Babar edged a fast bouncer into a mid-wicket sweeper.
Mohammad Rizwan was dropped to nine and hit David Willey in the middle where Hale’s hands let him down for the third time in the series. It would prove a miss as Rizwan’s 63 forms the backbone of the innings.
Willey saw his next ball disappear for six but rebounded by looping in Shan Masood, whose attempted ramp shot gently pinged the air off a leading edge.
The anticipation grew every time Wood re-entered the fight, and he showed why, taking an easy catch and bowl when Haider Ali found himself far too late on a pull, and later hurling a Yorker into Asif Ali’s leg stump when he came out into the fresh air.
Two run-outs in five balls dashed Pakistan’s hopes of recovering through the middle, and Rizwan incongruously fell after a full toss from Curran.
Woakes ended things early with his first wicket since March, but Pakistan already had enough to win a low-scoring contest.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/moeen-ali-england-phil-salt-mark-wood-pakistan-b2177486.html Vain exploits by Moeen Ali as Pakistan take the lead over England