Pakistan were poor in the first Test, but were even worse at Edgbaston as they crashed for 72 on the opening day - a new low against England five days after setting the previous record - with their threadbare batting skittled by the hosts' three quicks. Stuart Broad and James Anderson took four wickets apiece while Steven Finn collected two against some feeble resistance before England moved to 112 for 2 by the close, already a lead of 40, with Pakistan's woes compounded by another shoddy fielding display.
It was a desperate effort from the visitors and made Salman Butt's decision to bat first in ideal bowling conditions look foolish. Butt insisted he was making a positive move - and signs of uneven bounce suggested he wasn't entirely wrong - but he wasn't backed up by the mindset of the batsmen who, after twice collapsing at Trent Bridge, were purely focused on survival and showed virtually no intent. Nine runs came in the first hour - and four of those off one shot from Butt - and when wickets fell the scoreboard hadn't gone anywhere.
Better batting line-ups than Pakistan would have struggled, but Imran Farhat and Azhar Ali combined to face 56 balls between them without making a run and England were never forced to move away from Plan A. The highest partnership was 27 for the seventh wicket between Umar Amin and Mohammad Amir before Anderson made it 15 wickets in his last three Test innings to deny Broad a five-wicket haul after he'd made the top-order inroads.
England's progress in reply wasn't without problems as conditions remained helpful. Alastair Cook, who was reprieved by the UDRS after being given lbw to Mohammad Asif, continued his poor form when he managed to deflect a loopy bouncer to second slip off the back of the bat when he was far too early on a pull. Andrew Strauss then departed as the review system benefited Pakistan after umpire Steve Davis failed to spot an inside edge.
However, Pakistan had another dreadful time with dropped catches. Jonathan Trott was shelled at first slip by Farhat when he had 8 - a regulation chance - and Kevin Pietersen, on 9, was put down at mid-on by Umar Gul as he charged Saeed Ajmal. Gul had to stretch, but it wasn't much of an effort. Pietersen was then dropped a second time on 20 by Zulqarnain Haider, the debutant keeper who earlier collected a first-ball duck, when he couldn't hold an inside edge.
Pietersen also flashed an edge between keeper and slip off the luckless Ajmal but by the time bad light ended play he was beginning to look far more settled at the crease with a sign of a strut returning. Trott, as has been his style this season, moved along in unobtrusive but effective style, which was no mean feat in testing conditions.
It was immediately clear that England's bowlers would find plenty of help and the demise started in the eighth over when Farhat feathered an edge off Broad, who was back on the ground where he took 8 for 52 for Nottinghamshire a couple of weeks ago. Anderson, in his 50th Test, again made the ball do what he wanted with swing both ways as he left Butt playing at fresh air.
However, it was Finn who removed the Pakistan captain when an uncertain push outside off resulted in a regulation edge to Graeme Swann at second slip. The best grab of the morning, though, came from Matt Prior when he flung himself across in front of first slip to snaffle Shoaib Malik's outside edge and hand Anderson a deserved wicket. The nick would have carried to Strauss so Prior took a gamble, but committed himself fully to the dive and, like the slip cordon, is very safe these days.
Compared to what had come before, Umar Akmal launched his innings with a blaze of strokeplay with six runs off his first two balls before he whipped Broad over the deep square-leg boundary. It was a different story for Azhar, who couldn't even score off half volleys before being trapped lbw by one that nipped back from Broad. Azhar considered using a review but after some advice from Umar trudged off and replays confirmed the appeal would have been upheld - if only just - with the impact marginally inside the line of off stump.
Umar, who at least was playing a few shots, could have saved himself with a review but opted not to ask after Finn trapped him lbw with one that scooted through. Umar had moved so far across his stumps that he was struck outside the line and the third umpire would have been able to overturn the on-field decision.
Zulqarnain couldn't have made his debut in tougher conditions and received a lovely first delivery from Broad that grazed the outside edge. After lunch, Amin and Amir at least tried to show some aggression and Amin was given a life when Swann spilled a rare chance at second slip.
Amir, meanwhile, was reprieved by the UDRS when HotSpot showed an inside edge after he was given lbw to Anderson, although there was a suggestion the mark was made by bat hitting pad. However, it was only going to be a matter of time before England completed the job and Broad's fourth ended Amin's fighting effort and Broad was eyeing his fourth five-wicket haul until Anderson cut through the long tail.
It really was a sorry state of affairs for Pakistan as Mohammad Yousuf, who ruled himself out yesterday after his long-haul flight, watched their latest embarrassing demise from the dressing room.