At the last, England were ruthless. There was no mercy for Pakistan yesterday, not a hint of compassion on the fourth morning of the first Test, merely a group of men going about their business clinically, methodically, quickly.
The tourists, conquerors of Australia up the road only eight days earlier, were awful. But England were brutally efficient, as if recognising that it had to be like this. Opponents, once cornered, can be given no quarter.
Already in a hopeless position with three wickets down overnight and still 419 runs behind, Pakistan lost their last seven batsmen for 65 runs. They were all out for 80, their lowest total in 68 Test matches against England and lost by 354 runs to go 1-0 down in the series. It took half an hour before the walls came tumbling down, as if both sides were negotiating the precise nature of the surrender.
But from then on, it was a procession of errant batsmen unable, unwilling it seemed in come cases, to deal with the precise lines and accurate movement of England's seam bowlers. Last night the tourists bowed to the inevitable by calling up the veteran Mohamed Yousuf, something they had promised not to do but in the end they felt there was little option.
That England's catching was also safe and secure merely compounded their difficulties. Everything that went to hand was pouched and there were six catches close to the wicket taken by four different fielders.
The chief destroyer, for the second time in the match, was Jimmy Anderson, who took 6 for 17 to finish with match figures of 11 for 71. Throughout the match, Anderson produced swing bowling of the very highest order, pitching the ball up, moving it both ways, making the batsmen play. On days like these, he is among the foremost practitioners of his craft and it was an unremitting joy to watch.
But it is on the other days – which, sadly, is most of them – that Anderson will have to learn to perform. Not to the extent of taking 11-wicket hauls but of being, at least, an attacking force. Too often lately, his natural skills have been blunted because the ball has resolutely refused to move in the air and too often he has failed to respond.
However, there should be no mistake that he merited these figures – his best in Test cricket – not simply because of the way he went about his work, but because bowlers of his ilk are so often greeted with pitches which are not fit for purpose, or fit only for batting. This match, while a wretched experience for a Pakistan side completely at sea in the conditions, was captivating from start to finish.
Something was always happening and, although the top score in the match was England's first innings of 354, the pitch demanded much more of batsmen than the anodyne surfaces throughout the world, on which they are too often allowed to ply their trade. This is what made Eoin Morgan's maiden century such a feast for the eyes. This was not a "gimme" hundred, it was the innings of a craftsman who knows his game.
Anderson had similar virtues. Of course, conditions were in his favour – and, indeed, were equally favourable for Pakistan's high-calibre speed merchants – from the first ball of the first day. But neither Anderson nor any of the other English bowlers wasted them, instead wringing every advantage out of them. It turned out to be proper contest between bat and ball – eventually an unequal one – but it was also a splendid advertisement for the often poorly exhibited arts of swing and seam.
It took Anderson a few overs to persuade his joints, especially his wrist, to move in the most helpful direction as Pakistan began their forlorn task. After the breathless antics of the previous evening, it seemed as though everyone was pausing to take stock.
Not until the eighth over of the morning did England make further inroads into Pakistan's batting order. Imran Farhat pushed too hard at Anderson outside off-stump and edged low to first slip where Andrew Strauss took a firm catch. In his next over, Anderson undid Umar Akmal with a booming inswinger; the subsequent review, requested by the batsman, merely confirmed that he was out, leg before wicket.
The introduction of Steve Finn paid immediate dividend and now the only conjecture was whether the match would end before lunch or after. Finn had the vigilant nightwatchman Mohammad Aamer caught low by Kevin Pietersen in the gully. Not many Pakistani players raised their stock in the match but Aamer was one of the few, bowling wonderfully and resisting twice with the bat.
Finn struck again quickly, trapping Kamran Akmal leg before when the keeper-batsman pulled and missed. If the decision was harsh, Kamran did not look as though he had come packed for a prolonged siege. It was left to Anderson to mop up, helped by three more slip catches – one a stunner, taken by Paul Collingwood above his head.
Fifteen minutes before lunch it was all done, when Graeme Swann, at second slip, hung on to a stinger from Mohammad Asif. It was one of Swann's few interventions in the match, apart from three other slip catches in the first innings and a typically aggressive 28 in the second innings on the third day. For more than a year, he has been England's most influential cricketer but his total contribution as a bowler in this Test was two overs.
This spoke more to the conditions – and the ball would probably have turned for him had the fast men not done the trick – and he still has copious amounts of work ahead of him. Nobody can argue with such an overwhelming win.
This was England at their most determined. Strauss had spoken frequently of the need not to let opportunities pass. Earlier in the match, England had tended to take their foot off Pakistan's throat – brittle batting in both innings, the concession of the follow-on – but at the close, the kill came quickly.
Matt Prior's well-crafted century on the third afternoon put the Test beyond Pakistan's reach and it was all England after that. Their opponents were ultimately feeble but they had been brought that low by England's strength.
Trent Bridge Scoreboard
First Test (Third & Fourth day of five) England beat Pakistan by 354 runs
England won toss
England First Innings 354 (E Morgan 130, P Collingwood 82, A Strauss 45; M Asif 5-77, M Aamer 3-41)
Overnight: 331-4 (Andrew Strauss 45)
Pakistan First Innings
Friday Overnight: 147-9
U Gul not out: 65
46 balls 8 fours 4 sixes
M Asif run out (Morgan): 0
Extras (b 5, lb 2): 7
Total (54 overs): 182
Fall: 1-5 (Butt), 2-32 (Farhat), 3-35 (Amin), 4-41 (Ali), 5-45 (Akmal), 6-47 (Akmal), 7-105 (Malik), 8-108 (Aamer), 9-147 (Kaneria), 10-182 (Asif).
Bowling: J Anderson 22-7-54-5 (13-6-21-3, 7-0-28-2, 2-1-5-0), S Broad 17-4-59-1 (8-3-21-0, 5-0-22-0, 4-1-16-1), S Finn 13-5-50-3 (7-2-12-3, 4-3-8-0, 2-0-30-0), G Swann 2-1-12-0 (one spell).
Progress: Third day: 150 in 50.1 overs.
England Second Innings
*A Strauss c Akmal b Aamer: 0
A Cook c Akmal b Asif: 12
29 balls 1 four
J Trott b Gul: 26
55 balls 5 fours
K Pietersen c Akmal b Gul: 22
50 balls 3 fours
P Collingwood lbw b Gul: 1
E Morgan run out (Akmal): 17
46 balls 3 fours
†M Prior not out: 102
136 balls 7 fours 2 sixes
G Swann lbw b Kaneria: 28
35 balls 4 fours 1 six
S Broad c Farhat b Malik: 24
29 balls 2 fours 1 six
J Anderson c Akmal b Malik: 2
S Finn not out: 9
50 balls 2 fours
Extras (b 4, lb 11, w 1, nb 3): 19
Total (9 wkts dec, 75.3 overs): 262
Fall: 1-2 (Strauss), 2-18 (Cook), 3-65 (Pietersen), 4-66 (Trott), 5-72 (Collingwood), 6-98 (Morgan), 7-147 (Swann), 8-203 (Broad), 9-213 (Anderson).
Bowling: M Aamer 16-3-35-1 (7-0-17-1, 5-3-8-0, 2-0-8-0, 2-0-2-0), M Asif 17-1-56-1 (nb1) (9-0-28-1, 7-1-19-0, 1-0-9-0), U Gul 15-2-41-3 (w1, nb1) (10-2-20-3, 5-0-21-0), U Amin 5-1-13-0 (2-0-6-0, 3-1-7-0), D Kaneria 12-0-71-1 (nb1) (7-0-41-1, 5-0-30-0), S Malik 10.3-0-31-2 (one spell).
Pakistan Second Innings
I Farhat c Strauss b Anderson: 15
37 balls 3 fours
*S Butt c Collingwood b Broad: 8
10 balls 2 fours
A Ali lbw b Broad: 0
U Amin lbw b Anderson: 1
M Aamer c Pietersen b Finn: 4
U Akmal lbw b Anderson: 4
S Malik c Collingwood b Anderson: 9
26 balls 2 fours
†K Akmal lbw b Finn: 0
U Gul c Collingwood b Anderson: 9
10 balls 2 fours
D Kaneria not out: 16
21 balls 2 fours 1 six
M Asif c Swann b Anderson: 0
Extras (b 4, lb 8, w 1, nb 1): 14
Total (29 overs): 80
Fall: 1-10 (Butt), 2-10 (Ali), 3-11 (Amin), 4-31 (Farhat), 5-37 (Akmal), 6-41 (Aamer), 7-41 (Akmal), 8-50 (Gul), 9-65 (Malik), 10-80 (Asif).
Bowling: J Anderson 15-8-17-6 (nb1) (3-2-1-1, 12-6-16-5), S Broad 8-2-23-2 (3-0-14-2, 5-2-9-0), S Finn 6-3-28-2 (w1) (one spell).
Umpires: E A R de Silva (S Lanka) & A L Hill (NZ).
Match referee: R J Bailey
Friday-10 August: Second Test (Edgbaston)
18-22 August: Third Test (The Oval)
26-30 August: Fourth Test (Lord's)
5 September (Cardiff), 7 September (Cardiff)
10 September (Chester-le-Street), 12 September (Headingley), 17 September (The Oval), 20 September (Lord's), 22 September (Rose Bowl)