England's bowlers led from the front only for their batting woes to continue as 16 wickets fell on a remarkable opening day to the third and final Test against Pakistan in Dubai.
Pace duo Stuart Broad (4-36) and James Anderson (3-35) combined with clinical effect to help dismiss Pakistan for just 99 in 44.1 overs, however England's batsmen failed to follow the script as they stuttered to stumps five runs ahead on 104-6.
Captain Andrew Strauss stood firm on 41 not out as the remainder of England's top six came and went, but it was his opposite number Misbah-ul-Haq who will be rueing his decision to bat first after winning the toss.
His side lasted under two sessions as Broad and Anderson teamed up brilliantly with the new ball and Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann helped ensure a swift end to the sorry Pakistan innings.
But England once again found life equally difficult out in the middle to leave the Test fascinatingly poised heading into day two.
Only Pakistan number six Asad Shafiq offered any real resistance as England, who began the Test in danger of a 3-0 whitewash after back-to-back defeats, delivered a fierce payback for their previously below-par performances in the Middle East.
Anderson struck in the first over, finding some appreciable inswing to trap left-hander Taufeeq Umar lbw for a five-ball duck.
England could have had their second success only two balls later, Broad finding Mohammad Hafeez's edge only for Strauss to merely parry a sharp head-high catch at slip.
But Broad did not have to wait long before getting in on the act, finding more movement to take a faint inside edge to account for Azhar Ali after a fine catch by Matt Prior. Umpire Simon Taufel initially deemed it not out, however a successful use of DRS saw the decision overturned.
It got even better for Strauss' men when Younus Khan fenced at some extra bounce from Broad and also went caught-behind thanks to Prior - in the wicketkeeper's 50th Test.
England could do precious little wrong, and called another successful DRS to have Hafeez lbw to Broad even though the batsman appeared to think he had got bat on ball.
When Misbah himself went lbw at the other end - DRS proved no help to Pakistan against Anderson's full-length swing - Pakistan's scorecard already bore a remarkable resemblance to the ones England contrived in the first two Tests.
From 21-5, Pakistan's plight worsened further when wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal was trapped lbw to Broad and Swann got in on the act to snare the adventurous Abdur Rehman from his solitary over.
Shafiq kept England at bay for 78 balls, and contributed almost half his team's runs. But he was the second of two more lbw departures, trying to cut a Panesar arm ball, before Pakistan collapsed to 99 all out - their sixth lowest total against England.
However, that was by no means the end of the drama as England contrived to surrender their huge advantage to a slender one before stumps.
Alastair Cook (1) chased a wide ball, to be well-caught behind by a diving Akmal in the third over, and then Jonathan Trott (2) fell in Gul's next over - lbw to a full-length delivery, and ignoring a DRS option only for Hawkeye to suggest the ball would have gone on to miss leg-stump.
Under-fire duo Strauss and Kevin Pietersen (32) hit back with a counter-attacking 57-run partnership for the third wicket, only for the latter to perish to left-arm spin yet again, lbw to Rehman.
Ian Bell, another England batsman struggling for runs, departed in unfortunate circumstances for five when gloveman Akmal spilled a regulation take on to the stumps with Warwickshire man marginally out of his ground.
The 75-4 swiftly became 88-5 when Morgan (10) was trapped lbw playing back to Rehman and the same bowler spun one past Prior's loose defence shortly after.
Strauss (41no) held firm through till stumps and will return to the middle alongside nightwatchman Anderson (3no) as England look to extend their advantage on day two.