Nasser Hussain: We"re right in this but Ajmal still holds key

We're right in this but Ajmal still holds key

England bowled very well on Wednesday, on the sort of day I expected to see when this series started.

In fact, they were excellent, which makes the first day even more of a disappointment.

England sat in when they needed to and attacked when they needed to.

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Key to victory: Saeed Ajmal had England in a spin on day one

Key to victory: Saeed Ajmal had England in a spin on day one

They were controlled, disciplined and had the patience that is so important in subcontinental conditions.

Andrew Strauss's captaincy was very
good, too, as he rotated his bowlers well and even conjured up a wicket
by bringing on Jonathan Trott.

There was absolutely nothing in the pitch for anybody.

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Pakistan, if anything, were a little
bit too defensive and if they just sit in all day, like they did on
Wednesday, they are in danger of letting England nibble away at them and
get wickets.

In conditions like this you still
have to stay in a positive frame of mind and look to score runs without
becoming careless, as England did on Tuesday.

Otherwise the game will go nowhere.

The one Pakistan batsman who did stand out was Mohammad Hafeez, who I've been watching from a distance for the past year.

Hafeez is a more than decent off-spinner, who began England's demise on Tuesday and is a good slip catcher too.

Now he showed us he's a very well-organised batsman who does not appear to have many technical weaknesses.

When you think that the Pakistan openers averaged 11 for the first wicket when they toured England last time, they already look to have a much stronger pair in Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar.

Stuart Broad was brilliant and the ball he bowled to dismiss Taufeeq was an absolute beauty in these conditions.

So, too, was the one that Trott bowled to get rid of Younis Khan, one of the best batsmen in the world, and I really feel that Trott is just as good as Paul Collingwood in that role of fifth bowler.

No-one else got that amount of seam movement and I believe Trott has a role to play here with the ball.

Undercooked: Chris Tremlett

Undercooked: Chris Tremlett

Chris Tremlett looked a bit undercooked, having not played since his injury last summer, and he has to show again that he can change his length like he did in Cardiff last summer when he went fuller in the second innings against Sri Lanka and took wickets.

As he bowls more, that ability will come back.

There have been off – spinners from England's past who may have looked at Saeed Ajmal taking seven wickets on the first day and felt under pressure to do the same but I do not think Graeme Swann is the sort of character who gets fazed that way.

Swann knows that he doesn't have a doosra but also that he has been very successful doing things his way.

He bowled very well without being handed wickets, as Ajmal was.

There are no demons in this pitch and England are still very much in this game, especially after those two late wickets.

The locals say that the surface here does not break up and become some spitting thing as the Test goes on but if anything will get even slower.

The key then will be how England play Ajmal both in the second innings and in the rest of this series.

They will lose here if they do not work out how to play him – and quickly.