England hurried to victory at Lord's this morning by an innings and 225 runs over Pakistan to wrap up the npower series 3-1 with a day to spare.
Yet celebrations were eerily muted for what appeared a significant achievement as Andrew Strauss' team chalked up their seventh win in eight Tests to continue impressive preparations for the winter's defence of the Ashes in Australia.
It was their misfortune to do so against opponents batting under the cloud of 'spot-fixing' allegations and who - Umar Akmal's incongruously defiant 40-ball 50 apart - surrendered so tamely to be bowled out for 147 in their second innings that it was near impossible to avoid the conclusion their minds were not properly on the job.
Pakistan faced an apparently hopeless task, their only feasible ambition to retrieve some damaged pride and a little of their reputation with spirited if inevitably vain efforts on the pitch.
Instead they lurched still further from an already perilous 41 for four, losing four more wickets for 32 runs before Umar dominated stands of 24 and then 50 with numbers 10 and 11.
Graeme Swann's figures suffered a little, but he still finished with five for 62 - and nine wickets in the match - to put his name on the honours board.
The scoreboard was perhaps still the least of Pakistan's troubles, however, following last night's newspaper allegations of attempts to defraud bookmakers and the subsequent arrest of a 35-year-old man - from outside the squad - in relation to the matter.
The Pakistan team manager has confirmed captain Salman Butt, teenage bowler Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal were also interviewed by police at the team hotel last night.
The Lord's members showed no obvious displeasure with the tourists at the revelations, not-out batsmen Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal politely applauded as they made their way out to bat.
The partnership did not last long, however, and Pakistan's fortunes were not about to take a sudden and unexpected turn for the better.
Ali appeared to account for more spin than Swann could find from the pavilion end in the third full over of the day, and was bowled off-stump for 12 as he played inside the line.
Each of the next two wickets could muster only a run between them, James Anderson having Kamran Akmal caught behind with an outswinger and Swann turning an off-break sharply down the hill to hit left-hander Aamer's off-stump and see him off for a duck.
Wahab Riaz chipped a tame catch to mid-on off Swann, and Umar and Saeed Ajmal's rally ended in a tragicomic run-out.
The batsmen looked set to run into each other attempting a single which was never achieved, Ajmal short of his ground when Stuart Broad hit the non-striker's stumps direct from cover.
England's almost embarrassing superiority was a stark contrast to their collapse to 102 for seven two days ago and owed so much to a triple-century world-record eighth-wicket stand between Jonathan Trott and Broad.
Of the 18 other batsmen, only Umar Akmal (79 not out) - with some lone-ranger big hitting off Swann in particular - mustered more than Butt's 21 yesterday in a curious match which was put out of its misery when Asif unluckily edged Swann down on to his boot and then into the hands of Paul Collingwood at slip.Reuse content