Mohammad Asif confirmed what Pakistan have been missing throughout the series with an impressive three-wicket burst as the final Test sprang into life during the afternoon session. Rain limited the action to just eight overs before lunch, but after the break wickets tumbled once Umar Gul had made the first breakthrough. Danish Kaneria chipped in with an early wicket and then Shahid Nazir nailed Alastair Cook, the last recognised batsman, 15 minutes before tea.
Through the stop-start beginning to the match, Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss began to form a useful opening stand with Strauss, once again, played with fluency. Trescothick struggled more the longer his innings went on and used the inside-edge frequently during his scratchy 43-stay.
Strauss, though, continued to find the middle of his bat until being undone by an outstanding over from Asif. Forced back by a couple of short deliveries, Strauss pushed out at a fuller-pitched ball and produced a think edge through to Kamran Akmal. However, Asif outdid himself with his next ball, a full swinging beauty that drew Kevin Pietersen forward and kissed the outside edge as it moved late. On this ground, just under a year ago, Pietersen secured the Ashes with 158, but this time around it couldn't have been a briefer stay.
Asif's day then got even better when he ensured Paul Collingwood would not be pulling off one of the recovery acts that have been part of his Test career. The ball after sending a thick edge to third man, Collingwood was trapped on the crease as Asif nipped one back into his pads and it would have taken middle. Asif's last Test, against Sri Lanka at Kandy, ended with him holding figures of 11 for 71; this spell of three wickets in 11 balls will leave Pakistan fans wondering what might have been if he'd been fit all summer.
Inzamam-ul-Haq introduced Kaneria who struck with his fourth ball when Ian Bell propped forward and got an inside-edge onto his pad and out to silly point. Meanwhile, Cook's solid technique was standing up well to the swing and he was strong off the back foot. However, Nazir produced a pin-point yorker as Cook moved across his crease.
Tea: England 134 for 6 (Read 26*, Mahmood 1*) v Pakistan