It was brutal and when the end came it was brief too. England's batting was reduced to tatters by the bowling of Mushtaq Ahmed and Waqar Younis, a lethal post-lunch combination of leg-breaks and late reverse in-swingers. In a dramatic collapse, that rivalled England's 46 all out in Trinidad three winters ago, England lost nine wickets for 75 runs in 29 overs, a prostration that gave Pakistan crucial first blood in this Cornhill Test series.
It was an afternoon that will come to haunt England, for it showed that despite the new energy, old frailties had not travelled far. To lose nine wickets so quickly rarely happens in any circumstance, let alone when a team is 152 for 1, as England were 15 minutes after lunch.
It was probably the worst moment of Michael Atherton's career as captain, if only because it was a game that England ought to have saved. In a cruel twist of irony, it was Atherton's dismissal that opened the door.
For Pakistan, the heroes were undoubtedly Mushtaq and Waqar, who shared nine of England's second-innings wickets between them. Mushtaq at one stage took 5 for 11, his wrist spin gripping and snarling as it bit huge chunks out of England's frail batting.
It was an unusual pairing, but with the captain, Wasim Akram, struggling to generate his usual pace and swing, someone had to take responsibility. This Mushtaq duly did when he switched his attack to round the wicket after lunch. The tactic was a brave one, particularly as it reduced the effectiveness of the googly, Mushtaq's best ball against right-handers. However, it showed that a winter spent watching Shane Warne in opposition had not been a fallow one, and all but the last of his wickets were taken with leg-breaks using the Warne tactic of bowling into the rough.
Ironically, it was probably not a tactic the diminutive leg-spinner would have persevered with for long, given that England had not fallen for it. But Atherton, opting to turn the ball to leg instead of padding it away, offered a slip catch that woke a slumbering giant. Pakistan were transformed from a team bickering over a wicketless first session, into a unit surging forward with renewed hope and enthusiasm.
It was without doubt the turning point of the game. Before their captain's misjudgement, England were so confident of saving the game that several of them frolicked in the nets. But if the 154-run partnership Atherton had shared with Alec Stewart caused them to relax, it was a big mistake and it was not long before tracksuits and T-shirts were swapped for full battle gear.
In fact, panic stations would have started to sound in Mushtaq's next over, when he got Alec Stewart for a staunch 89. Stewart's dismissal, caught by silly point from a ball that bounced viciously out of the rough on to thigh pad and then glove, was a desperately unlucky one. It showed why Dermot Reeve had taken to throwing away his bat, when faced with a similar situation against Hampshire earlier in the season.
If it was all Mushtaq until then, Waqar's chance came with the arrival of Graeme Hick. Actually, Hick was fortunate to get down to the fast bowler's end at all, the batsman lucky to survive screaming appeals after gloving his second ball, a googly from Mushtaq, to Shadab Kabir at short leg.
If umpire Steve Bucknor's decision was just another poor one in a game full of them, there could be no disputing Hick's dismissal four balls later when Waqar ripped an in-swinging half-volley into his leg-stump.
It is difficult to be too hard on Hick, for Waqar has successfully performed this particular party trick countless times before. Coming in cold against a ball swinging fast and late is a difficult business, but it is one Hick ought to have steeled himself against.
Alas in Hick's case forewarned is not necessarily forearmed. His airy drive was not the stroke of a man in a positive frame of mind, and for the batsman's sake as much as anything, England should not consider him again this season.
Only Graeme Thorpe and Ian Salisbury, with a heartily struck 40, were briefly able to hold up the steamroller once it had gained momentum. The Surrey man, England's top scorer in the first innings, batted an hour for three before he became another poor umpiring statistic after being adjudged lbw to a vicious leg-break that bounced too high to have hit the stumps.
With 8 for 154 in the match, Waqar Younis was made man of the match. Before this game his form and fitness had been patchy, but now the secret is out and England will know what they have to contend with if they are to level the series at Headingley in a fortnight's time. However, as Hick's rapid exit showed, knowing about it is one thing, playing it, quite another.
Final day: Pakistan won by 164 runs.
Pakistan won toss.
PAKISTAN - First Innings 340 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 148, Saeed Anwar 74).
ENGLAND - First Innings 285 (G P Thorpe 77, N V Knight 51; Ata-ur-Rehman 4-50, Waqar Younis 4-69).
PAKISTAN - Second Innings 352 for 5 dec (Saeed Anwar 88, Ijaz Ahmed 76, Inzamam-ul-Haq 70).
ENGLAND - Second Innings
(Overnight 74 for 1)
*M A Atherton c sub (Asif Mujtaba)
b Mushtaq Ahmed 64
(278 min, 211 balls, 8 fours)
A J Stewart c sub (Moin Khan)
b Mushtaq Ahmed 89
(259 min, 189 balls, 8 fours)
G P Thorpe lbw b Mushtaq Ahmed 3
(61 min, 35 balls)
G A Hick b Waqar Younis 4
(6 min, 6 balls, 1 four)
M A Ealham b Mushtaq Ahmed 5
(11 min, 8 balls, 1 four)
R C Russell c Rashid b Waqar Younis 1
(13 min, 8 balls)
D G Cork b Waqar Younis 3
(8 min, 10 balls)
I D K Salisbury c Rashid b Wasim Akram 40
(74 min, 58 balls, 7 fours)
A D Mullally c sub (Moin Khan)
b Mushtaq Ahmed 6
(25 min, 18 balls, 1 four)
S J E Brown not out 10
(39 min, 27 balls, 2 fours)
Extras (b6, lb7, nb4) 17
Total (409 min, 97.1 overs) 243
Fall ctd: 2-168 (Atherton), 3-171 (Stewart), 4-176 (Hick), 5-181 (Ealham), 6-182 (Russell), 7-186 (Cork), 8-186 (Thorpe), 9-208 (Mullally).
Bowling: Wasim Akram 21.1-5-45-1 (nb4) (6-3-8-0, 4-1-4-0, 3-1-4-0, 4- 0-14-0, 4.1-0-15-1), Waqar Younis 25-3-85-4 (nb1) (7-1-25-1, 5-1-13-0, 12-1-42-3, 1-0-5-0), Mushtaq Ahmed 38-15-57-5 (10-4-16-0, 1-0-1-0, 26- 11-39-5, 1-0-1-0), Ata-ur-Rehman 11-2-33-0 (nb1) (6-2-18-0 5-0-15-0), Salim Malik 1-0-1-0 (one spell), Shadab Kabir 1-0-9-0 (one spell).
Progress: Fifth day: 100: 200 min, 47.5 overs. 150: 259min, 63.5 overs. Lunch: 152 for 1 (Atherton 58, Stewart 78) 64 overs. 200: 355 min, 83.4 overs. Innings closed: 4.09pm (5 balls before delayed tea interval).
Atherton: 50: 232 min, 178 balls, 6 fours.
Stewart: 50: 134 min, 99 balls, 4 fours.
Umpires: S A Bucknor and P Willey. TV replay umpire: J W Holder. Match referee: P L van der Merwe.
Man of the match: Waqar Younis.Reuse content