Pakistan showed what a handful they are with a decent new-ball attack when they dismissed England for a meagre 173 in 54 overs here yesterday and then rattled up 96 at nearly five runs per over.
They dominated the first day of the fourth and final Test match to such an extent that England crumpled with bat and ball and had their worst day of the summer.
Had Mohammad Asif played at Old Trafford and Headingley, the results might not have been altered but the thumping victory margins would have been reduced.
Also, for the first time in the series, they had a decent split of marginal decisions and that was why only four England batsmen reached double figures.
It turned out to be a big toss to win but Inzamam-ul-Haq could not have known there would be such generous assistance for his pace attack, although he soon realised he had done himself and his batsmen a favour by denying Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard first use of a pitch from which the ball seamed and bounced.
That said, it was still Asif's presence that made the difference, just as it did against England last winter.
The tall seamer missed the first three Tests of this series with an elbow injury after bursting on the big stage with 25 wickets in his first five Tests.
He didn't have much of a morning when a light shower forced the players off after two balls and another one an hour later but, had the umpires and groundstaff acted with greater urgency, there must have been more than eight overs play in the scheduled two-hour morning session.
It rained for 23 minutes but so long-winded was the shifting of four medium-sized tarpaulin sheets that only 37 minutes play was possible.
Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove were just as dilatory because, even when the covers were off at 11.20pm, not a ball was bowled until 11.31. Poor PR stuff for a capacity crowd to endure.
Andrew Strauss was in prime form but Marcus Trescothick was not. The captain raced to 22 off 22 balls including four fours while the latter scratched about for six in 14 overs, playing and missing at least a dozen times. He has had a poor summer and badly needs a big score in the second innings.
Umar Gul put him out of his misery when, ironically, one of the few to come from the middle of the bat was snapped up in the gully but, at 36 for one, there seemed no real problem until Asif took three big wickets in as many overs.
Strauss edged to Kamran Akmal who then caught Kevin Pietersen first ball.
Alastair Cook saved the hat-trick but then Paul Collingwood suffered a personal ecstasy and agony off successive balls. He edged the first for a streaky four to complete 1,000 Test runs in his 27th inniungs but was nailed plumb lbw next ball with an Asif beauty.
Ian Bell's run had to end sometime and he became one of seven England single-figure casusalties when he batpadded a close catch in Danish Kaneria's first over.
Cook was lbw to Gul from around the wicket and, at 112 for six, Chris Read was again left with the bowlers to save something out of the wreckage.
Cook played solidly and hit six fours in his 40, and showed again that having three openers can be useful on a seaming surface.
At least most of the first six wickets to fall were more to the credit of the bowler than faulty technique, and it was unsurprisng that the Pakistan team had a rare spring in their step in the field, despite another howler from wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.
Kaneria drew Sajid Mah-mood, on nought, two yards down the pitch only for Akmal to fail to lay a finger on an embarrassing set of four byes. The ball did pass between bat and pad but it was an inexcusable miss, as the seventh-wicket pair whacked another 40 runs in seven overs.
Read led the way with another perky innings but the last four wickets were swept away by pace for 15 runs in six overs. That sort of collapse gives coach Duncan Fletcher nightmares but Gul's three wickets took his total to 40 in his 11th Test and underlined his rapid progress.
The Pakistan reply was led by Imran Farhat who hit an agressive, unbeaten 56. He lost Mohammad Hafeez with cramp and then Younis Khan, who was strangled down the leg side by Mahmood. It was to be the last piece of luck the home side had.
To complete a rotten day, Matthew Hoggard had the prolific Mohammad Yousuf dropped twice, by Trescothick at slip and Cook in the gully -neither too difficult. What could go wrong did, and only the weather can help England out of a deep hole.