First it was Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail steering the side nearly all the way through the cliched crucial first hour, then 10 overs later with both of those men back in the hutch, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam took the reins.
For two days, first with ball and then bat, Pakistan have given England a masterclass in how to play on their home patch, batting patiently and with real commitment to the cause to reach 350 for eight, and sit on a 166-run first-innings lead.
Shafiq and Azam took Pakistan to 136 for three at lunch and the pair continued to gather runs comfortably in the afternoon session.
Alastair Cook in his 153rd consecutive Test, which equalled Australia great Allan Border's all-time record for successive appearances at this level, was the only England batsman to play an innings of substance, the left-handed opener making 70.
Opening bowler Mohammad Abbas took 4-23 and Hasan Ali, a star of Pakistan's Champions Trophy triumph in the United Kingdom a year ago, picked up 4-51.
Cook acknowledges that Pakistan are on top but believes England are not yet down and out.
The overcast skies above Lord's allied to a green-tinged pitch promised to assist Pakistan's pacemen but several England batsmen were the architects of their own downfall.
Mark Stoneman's unconvincing global career continued when he was bowled by Abbas for four, beaten as he tried to drive a full-length delivery which clipped the top of his off stump.
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Dawid Malan was also caught by Sarfraz off Hasan for six to leave England struggling at 3-43.
Cook and Jonny Bairstow (27) were both bowled from deliveries that shaped in and seamed away to hit off stump.
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And it was not long before England's 168 for six became 168 for seven.
But the work of team fielding coach Steve Rixon, the former Australia wicket-keeper, was rewarded when Asad Shafiq held a hard catch at second slip edge after Jos Buttler, recalled as a specialist number seven, edged a drive off Hasan and fell for 14.
The innings ended when Amir running back at mid-on, caught Mark Wood.
England won the toss on Thursday and opted to bat first against a new-face Pakistan Test side in the first of the two-match series at the Lord's.
Stuart Broad trapped Imam-ul-Haq - whose unbeaten 74 steered Pakistan to a five-wicket win over Ireland at Malahide last week - lbw for four on review after on-field umpire Rod Tucker had turned down his initial appeal.