It's hard to know where to begin. When a team loses a Test match by an innings, inside three days, the first thought that comes to mind is that it was a mismatch. And from the way Pakistan batted, bowled and fielded, perhaps, it was. The match was played in typical English conditions in May and Pakistan should have been mentally prepared for this. All the more reason of the need for greater circumspection and more resolution, all the more reason for team work.
Just compare the body-language of the players of the two teams. England had come to Lord's to win and Pakistan to do their best, given their limitations in alien conditions. Cricket is played in the mind. One did not see any positive signals emanating from the Pakistan dressing-room. Once the first day's play was washed out, Pakistan read that as a sign that they could go away from Lord's with a draw. I don't think winning was on the menu. Yet Pakistan went into the match with five seamers.
Not even the West Indies, in their halcyon days, played that many. The least one expected was aggression, attacking bowling with fielders close to bat in catching positions. Instead, all one got was set-piece field placing. The decision not to play Saqlain Mushtaq could have been justified if Pakistan planned to get England out in the first session of play.
Pakistan did put England into bat and the conditions were ideal for the fast bowlers. But clearly there was no plan, one got the impression that each bowler was doing his own thing. What they did have in common was that they bowled short and on both sides of the wicket, nullifying the ideal bowling conditions. By contrast, look at the way that Andy Caddick and Darren Gough bowled, a fuller length, homing in on the corridor of uncertainty and using the bouncer sparingly, as a surprise weapon rather than as a staple diet.
It was hard to believe that it was Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis who had more than 700 Test wickets between them rather than Caddick and Gough! Both Wasim and Waqar were off-the-boil. Shoaib Akhtar looked to be short of match practice and if the intention had been to play him, he should have played against Kent just before the Test match. He was bowled in short bursts which may have been the right thing to do in the first instance but he bowled better in his second spell and it might have been a good idea to have let him have the second new ball.
Pakistan needed to make things happen. The sight of Younis Khan bowling an over of spin before lunch seemed ironic when the world's best off-spinner was sitting in the balcony and watching the match in his track suit.
Matters were not helped by the out cricket which was sloppy and lacked urgency, something that Imran Nazir and Shahid Afridi would have provided. 391 was a very good total in the circumstances but it was not an oppressive or crushing score.
But Pakistan batted exceptionally badly and England bowled exceptionally well and the fielding was razor-sharp. The mixture was lethal. Not for the first time have the Pakistan batsmen shown themselves to be duffers when the ball is swinging or seaming. Not for the first time have an overwhelming number of dismissals been behind the wicket, caught by the keeper or in the slip cordon.
Clearly they must be doing something wrong. It is this inability to rectify what seems to be faulty technique that I find so distressing. But when a team loses by such a thumping margin, it seems pointless to try and identify specific faults. It was a total team failure.
But mention must be made of two crucial decisions, both given by the England umpire Peter Willey, that, while not altering the result, might have made England bat again. The first was that of Inzamam-ul-Haq. The ball had brushed his pad and there was no contact with the bat. Rameez Raja did try to introduce an element of doubt, which should have gone to the batsman but Willey had not hesitated for a moment. The other was the leg-before of Younis Khan when he had clearly got an inside edge.
These could have been errors of judgement but then so too was the one against Nasser Hussain at Rawalpindi last winter and the England captain had made no bones about how he felt. Neither did the England commentators who kept on referring to that decision for the rest of the tour. There is a thin line between an error of judgement and patriotic umpiring!
The loss of Inzamam at that juncture proved crucial to both teams. I mention this because while we are all hell-bent in trashing the team, we should spare some thought for the fact that luck too was not with Pakistan.
I did not expect Pakistan to win. Given that there was virtually no time available for getting used to conditions and for practice, it would have been a huge ask. But I certainly expected more spine in the performance and a little more inspiration and imagination from the Pakistan think-tank.
But it seems manifestly unfair to descend on the PCB like a ton of bricks. We must learn to limit our disappointment to the match itself. The failure of the team is not the failure of the PCB which in the last year has taken giant strides for the development of cricket, done more for the game in this short period than the combined efforts of previous cricket boards.
The upgradation of present grounds and the development of new ones will bear fruit in the long-term. The PCB chairman has accepted responsibility for the defeat at Lord's which is more than can be said of heads of other organisations who have not only failed in the present but have given no thought to the future.
And just to remind an angry cricket public, it was not the present PCB that committed Pakistan to play a Test match in England in May. We need to show a sense of balance.