Marcus Trescothick almost scored a double-hundred and held two slip catches, yet was left to reflect on a difficult third day for England in the first Test against Pakistan.

The stand-in captain scored approaching half his team's runs and then had a hand in both Pakistan's second-innings wickets to fall, only to see England's dominant start-of-play position become something much more marginal by stumps in Multan.

Trescothick's 193 underpinned a total of 418 all out after they resumed on 253 for three, then all but 19 runs of England's first-innings lead were wiped out as Pakistan closed on 125 for two second time round.

The left-handed opener was not about to get too downhearted, but there was no doubt the rest of England's heroes had endured a struggle in the Punjab.

''I wouldn't say I was disappointed - although at the start of the day we would have been looking to bat most of it,'' Trescothick admitted.

''It wasn't to be. The ball 'reversed' a little bit later on, and we just didn't get the runs we were looking for.''

Trescothick, batting so well once set that it seemed a certainty he would reach his second Test double century, was phlegmatic about his near miss.

''I would have loved to get another double hundred. But it is still a big score, and I'm pretty happy with 190,'' he said.

It was an innings which spanned three complete sessions spread over two days and encompassed a stand of 93 with Andrew Flintoff.

But in the absence of a half-century from anyone else apart from Ian Bell, England fell short of the advantage which seemed likely.

Trescothick, whose only double hundred came in the famous Oval victory over South Africa in 2003, had hit 20 fours and two sixes from 305 balls by the time he fell caught behind to a ball from Shabbir Ahmed which nipped away off the pitch.

His stay of almost eight hours was a triumph of astute shot selection and increasingly adept timing.

Pakistan, who delayed taking the second new ball for 17 overs, had their hopes raised by two early wickets, only for England to recover their authority for a time.

Nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard managed just one run in half an hour's batting before falling to a regulation caught-behind off Shoaib Akhtar.

There was a more serious blow to England's ambition when Kevin Pietersen failed to spot leg-spinner Danish Kaneria's variation delivery and edged via bat and pad to short-leg to continue his run of low scores at the start of this tour.

Flintoff was never entirely convincing and would have gone for 27 had a throw from substitute fielder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan at cover hit the stumps when the England all-rounder set off for a faulty single off Mohammad Sami and was rightly sent back.

Rana fluffed a more clear-cut opportunity to see off Trescothick on 181 when the left-hander swept Kaneria to deep backward-square,where the fielder failed to hang on to the catch, running in.

But just before the second new ball was finally taken, Flintoff gave his wicket away five short of his half-century to a Shoaib loosener - dragging an attempted big hit over the top into the hands of Shoaib Malik at deep square-leg.

It was not until after lunch that Trescothick took his leave, swiftly followed by Geraint Jones, who was bowled through the gate on the back foot when Shabbir got another ball to nip off the seam.

That opened up an England tail which did not hold up Pakistan unduly.

Shabbir took four for 54 to finish with the pick of the bowling figures as the last five wickets fell for the addition of only 54 runs.

Former Durham bowler Shoaib pinned Shaun Udal lbw for a Test debut duck to finish with three for 99.

Pakistan openers Salman Butt and Malik began the home second innings at a pace as Flintoff and Hoggard failed to find their range with the new ball.

Malik then donated his wicket with a compliant slash and edge to Trescothick at slip off Stephen Harmison.

There followed an unthreatening passage of play from England which extended until Younis Khan failed to steer the ball away from the clutches of Trescothick again at a wide and solitary slip.

The batsman departed two runs short of his fifty, to the bowling of Flintoff.

By then Butt was past his second half-century of the match, from 108 balls, leaving Trescothick to ponder how and where so much of England's advantage had slipped away.

''The wicket really flattened out when we came out to bowl, and obviously they played pretty well. But we picked up quite an important late wicket, so it is still quite evenly balanced at the moment,'' he concluded.

* England's injured captain Michael Vaughan continued to test his knee injury by running several laps of the ground and taking some light throw-downs in the nets yesterday.

He is still hoping to have a chance of being fit for next week's second Test in Faisalabad.

Pietersen and Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf, who have both suffered minor upper arm injuries in the course of the first innings, are expected to be able to bat.