England clawed their way back into the Test against Pakistan on the third afternoon to leave the game intriguingly poised. But whatever happens over the last day or two, England have some tricky questions to ponder in the coming days.

What should we expect from Archer?
Jofra Archer hasn't, by any means, bowled poorly this summer. And it may be we have been guilty of expecting too much of a 25-year-old who has played fewer than 40 first-class games.

But his international career started with such a bang. And he did generate such pace in both the World Cup and his Test debut that everything since - respectable though it has been - has seemed just a little bit underwhelming. His bowling average in three Tests this summer is 39.14. Since the start of England's winter tours in November, it's 43.33.

Here, with England lacking the pace of Mark Wood and the aggression of Ben Stokes, they needed Archer to hit the pitch hard in the manner Naseem Shah had for Pakistan. There were moments - such as when Azhar Ali was forced to jerk his head out of the way of a bouncer and ended up on his back - when he delivered. But for all the decent areas he bowled, for all the decent pace he generated, he was unable the make the breakthrough his side so required. Revealingly, his captain turned to Ben Stokes, who was under something of an injury cloud, and asked for another spell from Stuart Broad in the last half-hour of the day.

There is probably a case for giving Archer the new ball. But at present, he's not as quick as Wood, he's not gaining the movement of Chris Woakes and he's not as relentless as Broad. He might yet develop into a bowler with the best qualities of all of them - he really does have that much potential - but, right now, he looks a promising fast-medium seamer. And that's not an area where England are ever short of options. They thought they had found the new Malcolm Marshall. Instead it looks as if they have another Craig Overton.

Should England stick or twist with Buttler?
Jos Buttler batted admirably in England's first innings. Against hugely demanding bowling, he was patient and calm but still managed to put away the bad ball. Following on from his 67 in the final Test against West Indies, it revived hopes he may be rediscovering his form with the bat.

We do have to be realistic here, though. After a first-class career that is more than a decade old and more than a 100 first-class games deep, Buttler averages 32.06 with the bat. It seems a bit optimistic - and perhaps a bit unreasonable - to expect him to suddenly start doing better when he's playing at a higher level.

More pertinently, his errors with the gloves were a contributory factor in England conceding a large first-innings lead. While he has generally been sound standing back to seamers, his struggles against spin - his missed three chances off Dom Bess in the first innings - provided little confidence ahead of England's winter tours when they are scheduled to play up to seven Tests in Asia.

So, is he worth of selection as a specialist batsman? Or should England preserve with him as keeper? The management have invested huge amounts of time in Buttler and clearly like what he brings to the team above what can be measured in statistics. But it would be a bold selection team to pick a specialist batsman averaging 24.90 in 16-and-a-half Tests going back to the start of 2019 or put their trust in a keeper who has never completed a stumping at this level.

What's eating Root?
Midway through the English summer of 2016, Joe Root was averaging 56.15 in Test cricket and looked every inch a modern great. He had been rated the No. 1 Test batsman in the ICC's rankings and comparisons with Virat Kohli and co. seemed completely reasonable.

Now? Well, from the end of the last Ashes series in Australia, at the start of 2018, Root is averaging 37.81. Which is decent, particularly given that he's playing a lot of his cricket in England where top-order batting is desperately tough in recent time. But in a fragile batting unit, England really do need more from him.

There have been some really impressive performances since then - he made a high-quality century in Pallekele, for example, and he's still rated in the ICC's top 10 - but he has been unable to score as heavily as his team need and that career average has slipped to 48.09. And, harsh though it sounds, one or two of his other centuries in that period - such as the double in Hamilton, his only century in his last 14-and-a-half Tests - have come on fearfully flat surfaces or when the series has been decided. It may also be relevant that, batting at No. 3, as he has in the last couple of games, he averages 38.59 while at No. 4 he averages 49.23.

It may be that Root's tempo is the issue. Now committed to fashioning a team that puts a high price on its wickets and plays, where necessary, attritional cricket, Root is perhaps not playing his natural game. Equally, it could be the demands of captaincy are starting to wear him down. There doesn't seem an obvious captaincy alternative but it's fair to ponder whether Root's run are more valuable to this team than his leadership.

Root remains a high-class batsman. And he remains England's natural leader. There's little prospect of that changing. But how his side would love him to find a way to rediscover the form saw him talked about as a potential all-time great.

How much longer can England rely on Anderson?
Let's be realistic: James Anderson is 38 and there are a lot of miles in those legs. As England look ahead to tours of Sri Lanka and India (a series which may well be played in the UAE), it's natural to wonder how effective he will be in those conditions.

The stats are starting to look just a bit worrying. He hasn't taken a second-innings wicket in a Test this summer - a sign, perhaps, that he is struggling to recover from the effort expended in the first innings - and, by his standards, a haul of six wickets in three Tests is a little disappointing.

But he has bowled much better than his figures suggest in this game. After one, brief, modest spell on the first day, he delivered a good seven-over spell at the start of the second that accounted for Babar Azam and he would have had Abid Ali caught at slip at the start of Pakistan's second innings if Stokes had been able to hold on to a regulation chance. He bowled with good pace - up to 86 mph - saw two boundaries edged through gully and beat the bat a couple of times as well. He should have finished among the wickets.

There would appear every chance he will be rested - not dropped - for the second Test, leaving him on 590 Test wickets (albeit there are still two to take in Pakistan's second innings here) going into the final match of the summer.

Could that be the end? It's possible Anderson may decide to call it a day. But he took a five-for in South Africa at the start of this year and he took a five-for in the Caribbean at the start of last. He was England's best bowler the last time they played in the UAE, with 13 wickets at a cost of 15.61 in late 2015, and it seems unthinkable the selectors would decide they could do without the control and experience he offers.

We may be in a new stage of Anderson's career; a transitional stage, perhaps, where England wean themselves off their reliance upon him. But there's not much evidence to suggest they're ready to completely move on just yet.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo