Senior pace pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad were the driving force as England bowled Pakistan out for 234 on day one of the must-win third Test.
Broad and Anderson (four for 17) closed down one end for 28.1 of the 85.1 overs needed at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium - conceding only 30 runs, and taking six wickets, to kickstart England’s bid to level the series in this final match.
Those outstanding efforts were all the more valuable after third seamer Ben Stokes suffered a worrying injury, leaping for a catch off Samit Patel. It looked like a dislocated right shoulder as he left the field in evident pain, his arm in a makeshift sling.
Only Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq (71) held England up, continuing a sequence of four consecutive half-centuries and sharing a sixth-wicket stand of 80 with Sarfraz Ahmed.
Potentially victims of their own success, England avoided that fate when they came through two overs of batting under lights on four without loss
Broad’s remarkable figures were testimony to his discipline - eight maiden overs out of 13 bowled - but also the nature of this contest on the slowest of pitches, and its even slower outfield.
Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfraz alone, with a single each, managed to score off him in his first 10 overs.
Anderson was not shabby either, the early evidence here strongly suggesting a lower-scoring encounter than the previous two - perhaps with a swifter finish too.
There was enough turn already to indicate spinners would be largely to the fore, yet it was England’s frontline seamers who accounted for three of the first four wickets.
Anderson struck in just the third over, after Alastair Cook had lost a third successive toss on this tough tour.
Azhar Ali, back for his first match of the series, went for a duck when England’s leading Test wicket-taker got one to bounce and hold its line for an edge behind on the back foot.
It was not long before there was spin at both ends nonetheless, Patel a surprise first choice.
Pakistan appeared intent on preventing England’s slow bowlers from settling, and it was a bonus wicket when Moeen Ali bagged the second opener of the morning - with a long hop, and mis-pull by Hafeez to deep backward square.
Broad almost had a wicket in the first over after lunch, but Younus Khan’s inside-edge did not quite carry to Jonny Bairstow.
No matter, Broad was successful in his next when Shoaib Malik departed in a near action replay of Azhar’s dismissal two-and-a-half hours earlier.
Broad left the attack, and Anderson immediately cashed in on his groundwork - his 422nd Test wicket, a swinging full toss to have Younus lbw taking him above Shaun Pollock into eighth in the all-time list.
Patel’s comeback Test, his first in almost three years, had hit an instant snag when he jammed the little finger on his bowling hand in his first over of the morning.
But he continued after treatment, and was to take his fifth Test wicket in classic style.
The left-arm orthodox brought Asad Shafiq forward in defence and found enough turn for Bairstow’s third catch behind the stumps, on his return to the specialist position - having played purely as a batsman in his previous five Tests.
Three wickets had fallen for 29 in 19 overs, but Misbah and Sarfraz took control either side of tea.
Sarfraz was twice dropped in the 30s - first by Anderson at slip, cutting Adil Rashid, and then when Stokes’ brilliant attempt at backward square leg brought him only agony as he failed to hold on and landed awkwardly.
Sarfraz soon heaved Moeen high into the hands of deep midwicket - and then, without addition an over later, Patel turned another to bowl Wahab Riaz for a duck.
Misbah had his 50 by then, from 138 balls. But as the last three wickets went in a hurry to the second new ball, and the last five in all for 38, his fell to Anderson when he steered a catch to second slip.