Ian Bell completed one of the toughest weeks of his cricket career on an unexpected high as he shared a century partnership with stand-in England captain Marcus Trescothick to put his team in control of the first Test match against Pakistan here.
Eight days ago Bell was coming to terms with his omission from England's final warm-up match and the fact he would therefore be dropped for the start of this three-Test series.
The 23-year-old batsman had scored only six runs in his last four Test innings - and his struggles in practice at the start of this tour culminated in the embarrassment of being bowled in the nets by England's doctor, Peter Gregory.
As he reflected on a second day in Multan in which he scored 71 in a second-wicket partnership of 180 with Trescothick (135 not out) and closed with England on 253 for three in reply to the hosts' under-par 274 all out, he spoke with honesty about his difficulties since arriving in Pakistan.
"It's been hard work, character-building," he said.
"To be bowled by the doc isn't the most pleasant of feelings, and I've been scratching around a little bit."
Bell found himself back in the reckoning, and pushed up the order to number three, because of the untimely knee injury to Michael Vaughan - an event which has also made this Test doubly significant for Trescothick.
While Vaughan's unofficial vice-captain rose to the challenge of leading his country for only the second time in a Test match by batting most of the day to finish unbeaten with 16 fours and a six off 211 balls, there was plenty of reason for Bell to feel pretty satisfied too.
He said: "It was obviously a big one for me with Vaughany's injury - and it's nice for me to get the confidence back.
"I went back to a lot of very simple basic things which have got me back on track - and it was good to go out there and feel as if I played quite nicely."
Bell could have been forgiven more than the usual nerves when he went in at 18 for one after the early loss of Andrew Strauss, lbw on the back foot to Mohammad Sami.
Instead, though, he took the view that he had nothing to lose because he was being given a chance that he thought - until Vaughan's misfortune - had passed him by.
He said: "Of course, it was disappointing to think I wasn't going to be in the team. But in a way sometimes it is not a bad position to be in. There was no pressure on me - I just had to go out there and play.
"I could just go out there, relax and think 'whatever happens happens'."
Trescothick's assistance was much appreciated by Bell, who fed off his partner's advice and encouragement to retain concentration in stamina-sapping heat.
"Marcus really did help me out there, always talking to me. It helped me to be out there with someone so experienced," said Bell, who was part of England's Asheswinning side last summer but finished that glorious series with a pair at The Oval.
"I was a little bit disappointed with the summer. I still back myself to be a good player and I wanted to prove to people that I can play at this level. I want to do it for a long time too," he said.
Bell went some way to doing that on a day which nonetheless belonged to Trescothick more than anyone.
The left-handed opener's 13th Test century was a triumph of sound shot selection, determination and increasingly adept timing on a docile pitch but against an attack posing the new-ball threat of Shoaib Akhtar and the challenge of Danish Kaneria's leg-spin too.
Bell, whose innings was losing a touch of momentum when he finally fell bat-pad to Shoaib Malik, had been reprieved on 62 by a correct no-ball call by umpire Billy Bowden when the other Shoaib bamboozled him with a slower full-length off-break which had him playing much too early and then snaked between his pads to hit middle stump.
Trescothick had one minor anxious moment of his own on 94 - although it was barely a half-chance to Kamran Akmal as a Malik offbreak took the outside edge but made no height on its way through to hit the wicketkeeper's pad just below his gloves.
Although England could have done without the late dismissal of Paul Collingwood - caught behind when Shabbir Ahmed got one to go away off the pitch - everything else went to plan for the tourists who needed only 11 overs yesterday morning to take Pakistan's last four wickets.
Matthew Hoggard and Andrew Flintoff (four for 68) used the second new ball well to see off the hosts whose chosen bowling attack for this match left them with a long tail.
The important wicket was that of captain Inzamam-ul-Haq (53), who completed his half-century in 90 balls only to nibble at a length ball from Flintoff which just held its line to find the edge before being neatly caught by Strauss at second slip.
When number 11 Kaneria cut Stephen Harmison's second ball obligingly to gully to close the Pakistan innings the last nine home wickets had fallen for only 113 runs.