Misbah-ul-Haq has had to live with the expectations, and burdens, of his heroics in the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa and on day one of the Feroz Shah Kotla Test he buckled down and proved he could deliver again.
An Anil Kumble-inspired India restricted Pakistan to 210 for 8 but without Misbah's gutsy half-century the story could have read very differently. Misbah, who had never gone past 41 in his previous seven Tests, batted more than four hours for his unbeaten 71, including the entire final session with Mohammad Sami, with who he put on 68.
Pakistan virtually lost the advantage of winning the toss on a good batting track, collapsing to 85 for 5. Misbah and Kamran Akmal, the under-pressure wicketkeeper, staged a partial recovery, adding 39 for the sixth wicket, but when Akmal was bowled by a quick one from Kumble that kept low, it left Misbah batting with the tail.
Misbah applied himself remarkably well, hitting one six and five fours in his 204-ball effort, the stand-out shot being a straight six off part-time seamer Sourav Ganguly. He was afforded a stroke of luck just before stumps when Harbhajan Singh failed to catch a mistimed pull shot at midwicket, with Misbah on 69.
"Misbah was at his fighting best. He and Sami played according to instructions," said Pakistan's coach Geoff Lawson.
A maiden Test century awaits Misbah. If he can continue the watchful, determined approach of the first day, that could lift Pakistan further out of trouble.