It is hard to imagine that any England bowling attack has ever been clobbered as hard or far as that which wore the three lions and a coronet here in Karachi yesterday.
For 34 overs England had managed to maintain a modicum of control over Pakistan's ominous batting line-up. Kamran Akmal had scored a majestic century, his third in four innings against England, but Pakistan, on 188 for 3, looked set to score no more than 300.
But then Shahid Afridi, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Yousuf produced a bewildering display of pyrotechnics which sent a frenzied crowd of 33,000 into rapture. Pakistan added 165 runs in their innings' final 16 overs and posted an impregnable total of 353 for 6.
The assault broke England, whose batsmen showed very little fight. England have been bowled out for fewer than 188 on 61 occasions in limited-overs cricket but only once in 1993-94 Michael Atherton's side were beaten by the West Indies by the same amount, 165 runs have they lost by such a margin.
Pakistan's task was made easier by woeful England bowling. Andrew Flintoff was the only member of the attack who appeared capable of bowling yorkers. The rest failed to show the skill or nous required to contain unforgiving opponents.
The defeat will have had a demoralising effect on a team that have now lost a Test series, two consecutive one-day internationals and three of their key players. Marcus Trescothick and Duncan Fletcher, England's stand-in captain and coach respectively, now face the unenviable task of motivating a squad with an eye on next Thursday's flight home for two remaining matches in Rawalpindi.
When Trescothick invited Pakistan to have first use of an excellent pitch he would have had no idea that his side would haemorrhage a record number of runs. And in the opening exchanges there seemed little sign of what was to come. Flintoff and James Anderson swung the new ball against watchful openers.
But as the overs passed Kamran grew in confidence and unleashed his wonderful array of strokes. Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, raised eyebrows at the start of the tour when he claimed that Kamran had the potential to play like Australia's Adam Gilchrist. Yet after Pakistan's wicketkeeper has scored 154, 5, 102 and 109 in his last four innings against England Woolmer may have a point.
England would have expected the dismissal of Kamran to reduce the scoring rate, but the arrival of the much loved Afridi brought the opposite. After pushing a couple of singles he swiped Paul Collingwood for a four and six before doing the same to Flintoff. Yet just when he looked set he was run out for a 14-ball innings of 31.
The crowd fell silent. In their eyes Yousuf was the culprit and his half-century brought little applause. Yousuf himself was brilliantly run out by Collingwood, but Razzaq began striking the ball with alarming power. Liam Plunkett bowled the 44th over of the innings and it was hit for 19 runs. Anderson bowled the 47th and it conceded 23. In 25 balls Razzaq and Inzamam added 60 runs to Pakistan's total.
A six off Anderson landed on the roof of a stand, disturbing a bird's nest. Foliage floated on to the crowd before the ball rolled down. Inzamam was bowled by a Flintoff yorker and Razzaq brought up his 22-ball half-century off the final ball of the innings.
* The 2006-07 Ashes Test series between Australia and England will be sandwiched into a 45-day window to avoid clashing with the major one-day tournaments scheduled around the same period, it was announced yesterday. The start of the tour has been pushed back from October because the ICC Champions Trophy in India does not finish until 5 November. And the tour ends in mid-February, just a month ahead of the World Cup starting in the West Indies on 13 March.
Australia v England 2006-7 Ashes Tour itinerary: First Test (Brisbane 23-27 November); Second Test (Adelaide 1-5 December); Third Test (Perth 14-18 December); Boxing Day Test (Melbourne 26-30 December); Fifth Test (Sydney 2-6 January).
Scoreboard from Karachi
England won toss
Salman Butt c Flintoff b Plunkett 29 65 mins, 50 balls, 5 fours
ÝKamran Akmal c Plunkett b Collingwood 109 139 mins, 111 balls, 12 fours
Younis Khan c Jones b Plunkett 0 4 mins, 2 balls
Mohammad Yousuf run out (Collingwood) 68 110 mins, 65 balls, 7 fours
Shahid Afridi run out (Collingwood-Jones) 31 23 mins, 14 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes
* Inzamam-ul-Haq b Flintoff 45 50 mins, 35 balls, 4 fours, 1 six
Abdul Razzaq not out 51 32 mins, 22 balls, 5 fours, 3 sixes
Shoaib Malik not out 1 2 mins, 1 ball
Extras (b 5, lb 1, w 13, nb 0, pens 0) 19
Total (for 6, 217 mins, 50 overs) 353
Fall: 1-74 (Salman Butt), 2-84 (Younis Khan), 3-188 (Kamran Akmal), 4-234 (Shahid Afridi), 5-272 (Mohammad Yousuf), 6-350 (Inzamam-ul-Haq).
Did not bat: Shoaib Akhtar, Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Sami.
Bowling: Flintoff 10-1-57-1 (w5) (4-1-11-0 2-0-10-0 1-0-16-0 3-0-20-1), Anderson 10-0-72-0 (w3) (6-0-31-0 2-0-12-0 2-0-29-0), Harmison 8-0-62-0 (w2) (6-0-39-0 2-0-23-0), Plunkett 7-0-61-2 (w2) (4-0-25-2 1-0-6-0 2-0-30-0), Collingwood 8-0-58-1 (w1) (4-0-23-0 2-0-24-1 2-0-11-0), Blackwell 5-0-25-0 (4-0-19-0 1-0-6-0), Solanki 2-0-12-0 (one spell).
Progress: Power Play 1: overs 1-10 46-0; PP2: overs 11-15 71-0; PP3: overs 16-20 107-2. 50: 45 mins, 65 balls. 100: 84 mins, 117 balls. 150 in 116 mins, 166 balls. 200: 149 mins, 212 balls. 250: 176 mins, 245 balls. 300: 194 mins, 269 balls. 350: 213 mins, 296 balls. Kamran Akmal's 50: 76 mins, 53 balls, 6 fours. 100: 131 mins, 105 balls, 11 fours. Mohammad Yousuf's 50: 99 mins, 56 balls, 4 fours. Abdul Razzaq's 50: 32 mins, 22 balls, 5 fours, 3 sixes
* M E Trescothick c Inzamam-ul-Haq b Naved-ul-Hasan 22 40 mins, 30 balls, 3 fours
M J Prior run out (Shoaib Akhtar) 2 30 mins, 12 balls
A J Strauss lbw b Mohammad Sami 23 51 mins, 23 balls, 3 fours
V S Solanki c Younis Khan b Naved-ul-Hasan 0 2 mins, 2 balls
A Flintoff b Yasir Arafat 36 52 mins, 41 balls, 7 fours
P D Collingwood c Salman Butt b Shoaib Malik 19 33 mins, 31 balls, 2 fours
ÝG O Jones c Yasir Arafat b Shahid Afridi 14 34 mins, 26 balls
I D Blackwell c Mohammad Sami b Shahid Afridi 14 20 mins, 27 balls
I R Bell not out 37 32 mins, 42 balls, 5 fours
L E Plunkett b Shoaib Malik 7 22 mins, 17 balls
S J Harmison c Shahid Afridi b Shoaib Malik 1 3 mins, 2 balls
Extras (b 0, lb 7, w 5, nb 1, pens 0) 13
Total (164 mins, 42 overs) 188
Fall: 1-22 (Prior), 2-40 (Trescothick), 3-40 (Solanki), 4-79 (Strauss), 5-101 (Flintoff), 6-122 (Collingwood), 7-140 (Jones), 8-145 (Blackwell), 9-186 (Plunkett), 10-188 (Harmison).
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 5-1-23-0 (nb1,w5), Naved-ul-Hasan 7-1-31-2, Mohammad Sami 5-1-18-1, Yasir Arafat 5-0-31-1, Shahid Afridi 10-0-42-2, Shoaib Malik 9-1-29-3, Abdul Razzaq 1-0-7-0 (one spell each).
Progress: Yasir Arafat replaced Mohammad Yousuf between innings. Power Play 1: overs 1-10 47-3; PP2: overs 11-15 72-3; PP3: overs 16-20 102-5. 50: 58 mins, 67 balls. 100: 95 mins, 116 balls. 150: 144 mins, 207 balls. I R Bell replaced J M Anderson after 30.5 overs at 140-7.
Pakistan won by 165 runs.
Umpires: A L Hill and R E Koertzen.
TV replay umpire: Zameer Haidar.
Match referee: J J Crowe.
Man of the match: Kamran Akmal.