At lunch, England were 100 for three, after Sohail had accounted for both opener Alex Hales (17) and star batsman Root (three) on his way to figures of two for 28 in eight overs. Rahat Ali then had England captain Alastair Cook lbw for a fluent 45.
James Vince was 16 not out and Gary Ballance 18 not out.
Right-arm quick Sohail was recalled for just his third appearance at this level in place of Wahab Riaz as Pakistan broke up the all left-arm pace attack they had deployed for the first two Tests of this four-match series.
They also brought in Sami Aslam for struggling opener Shan Masood after England’s crushing and series-levelling 330-run win in the second Test at Old Trafford. But it was Sohail who had the first chance to show his skills after Pakistah captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and fielded on an overcast morning.
An unconvincing Hales fell when a good-length Sohail ball that cut away took the outside edge and was caught by wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. It was not long before England’s 36 for one became 48 for two.
Joe Root had made a Test-best 254 at Old Trafford in a match where he and century-maker Cook scored 506 runs between them for just twice out. It was no wonder that Misbah, speaking on Tuesday, had described the pair as the “pillars” of an otherwise fragile England top order.
Pakistan managed to knock down one of those pillars when Root, playing one of his favourite back-foot forcing shots, edged Sohail and was safely held by sometimes fallible slip fielder Mohammad Hafeez.
Sohail had taken two wickets for eight runs in nine balls, with Vince, yet to score a Test fifty, walking out with England in trouble.
Left-handed opener Cook, carrying on from where he left off in Manchester, struck eight fours — including a straight drive off Rahat Ali — in 52 balls. But Rahat had his revenge with a full ball that nipped back and hit Cook on the front pad.
Umpire Joel Wilson gave Cook out lbw and the England skipper reviewed, more in hope than expectation. But Wilson’s decision was duly upheld and England had lost their second ‘pillar’ at 75 for three.