At one stage they had the home side reeling at 29 for 4, but Pakistan, who won the toss, recovered to 189 for 6 off 87 overs by the close. The Pakistan captain, Ahmad Saeed, was the force behind the recovery with an unbeaten 65. He was well-supported by Abdur Razzak, who contributed 57 to a sixth-wicket stand of 97.
Earlier, Surrey's Ben Hollioake took advantage of some early movement to remove three of the top four Pakistan batsmen. The pitch then lost its venom and Ahmad shared in a fifth-wicket partnership of 55 with Bazid Khan before Khan was run out for 26.
The England manager, Phil Neale, said: "While the ball was new it swung about a bit and [Alex] Tudor, Hollioake and [Paul] Franks all bowled well to put us right on top.
"Once the shine went off the ball, though, there was virtually no movement and no bounce - and there was no assistance for the spinners - so Pakistan were able to dig in and mount a slow but steady recovery. The morning session tomorrow will be interesting because the new ball is due straightaway."