Asim Kamal was called into the Pakistan party to bolster their batting after the mauling in Multan.
He justified the selectors' decision with a confident 73, to turn Pakistan's promising lead into what should be a match-winning one.
A feature of his performance was his willingness to carry the responsibility of the lower order.
He arrived during the clatter of wickets in the first hour when Pakistan were already ahead and building.
Asim Kamal hits to leg, watched by India's Pathiv Patel
But captain Inzamam-ul-Haq's minimum target lead of 200 was still some way away.
Kamal was prepared to let Shoaib Akhtar, his more experienced partner, control their eighth wicket stand of 46.
Then, no doubt obeying lunchtime instructions, he set about knocking Anil Kumble out of his stride. Having already struck Irfan Pathan for six, he launched another off Kumble over long on.
The next over Sachin Tendulkar suffered similar treatment before Kumble had the final word, having Kamal caught behind.
When he was out he had played the leading role in the last three wickets raising the total by 103.
Pakistan's lead of 202 was just what Inzamam wanted. It allowed him to unleash Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammed Sami and Umar Gul on the Indian top order.
For the first time in the series Shoaib and Sami did not let him down.
Shoaib in particular soon rediscovered his telling line and length after mounting criticism in recent weeks about his performances.
The run-out of Rahul Dravid without facing was a further setback for India, desperate to hang onto their series lead.
When was the last time both captains in a Test match were dismissed on the same day having faced just one ball between them?
There should be plenty of time for Dravid to ponder on the answer as this match should be settled with time to spare.
Virender Sehwag's fighting unbeaten 86 has made sure this match goes into a fourth day, adding an unbeaten 44 with Parthiv Patel.
That stand will hold the key on Thursday morning. How long can they survive?
In recent times India have lost Tests in Zimbabwe, West Indies and Australia after taking the lead in the series.
It will need something remarkable to stop Pakistan adding their name to that list.