When, at tea on the fourth afternoon, Pakistan had a lead of 282 on a pitch scarred at one end by Willis's follow-through - already expertly exploited by Abdul Qadir - England had every cause to fear the worst. Skipper Wasim Bari, however, chose to bat on and his nervous declaration only twenty minutes from the close offered England an escape route.
With all wickets intact, England, with 344 to win - an academic proposition - were in a more confident position to face the final day, and in the end defeat was avoided with an ease few would have predicted. Boycott and Brearley scored 185, their best partnership since opening for England, and Boycott ended with a not out century.
Wasim Bari blamed a pitch which grew slower with less bounce for Pakistan's failure to capitalise on the brilliant batting of Haroon Rashid and Miandad, and the leg-spin bowling of Abdul Qadir, the most notable discovery of his type for some time.
Pakistan's dominating position was originally due to an electric century, his second in succession, by Haroon Rashid. His six 6s beat the Pakistan record of four by Intikhab Alam, also against England on the same ground in 1972-73, and he had ten 4s. His spectacular driving and powerful hits to leg brought him a century in two hours fifty minutes, and he reached both 50 and 100 with 6s.
With Miandad joining him in the assault - his opening shot was the first of his three 6s - the fourth pair raised 100 in ninety-five minutes and finally 112 in two hours. It would be hard to imagine more exhilarating batting.
Understandably the rest of Pakistan's batting could not reach such lofty standards. However, the stand did not end Miandad's part and, but for a misunderstanding with his last partner, Sikander Bakht, he would surely have scored a century. Of the last 55 Miandad claimed 40. He had seven 4s to embellish his 6s.
Despite the hammering from Haroon Rashid and Miandad, England were not unduly despondent at Pakistan's total of 275 until it became evident that Abdul Qadir had been left with a great opportunity to bowl round the wicket into the Willis footmarks. There were two patches, one just short of a length and the other close to the leg stump.
The follow-through met the requirements of the law, but the danger to England was demonstrated when Rose was bowled by the last ball on the second day. Soon they were in no doubt of their plight as Abdul Qadir, pitching in the rough, caused all manner of problems.
Only Boycott had the defence to last, but he ran himself out for a crucial third wicket to Pakistan at 137. Randall, Roope, Taylor and Edmonds fell in the course of sixteen balls for four runs, and the ninth wicket went down at 157. Cope and Willis, the last pair, managed a brave 34 in sixty-eight minutes.
With impressive support from Iqbal Qasim (two for 54 off 272 deliveries) Abdul Qadir returned figures of six for 44, which was a statistically better performance than the Pakistan record against England - Fazal Mahmood's six for 46 at The Oval in 1954. For a bowler with little experience, Abdul Qadir was astonishingly mature and proficient, giving England little hope with his spin and accuracy.
England, 84 behind, had little alternative but to bowl tight in the hope of containing Pakistan. Not once was the required hourly rate of thirteen 8-ball overs an hour reached, but there were many interruptions not of their making, including the police chasing intruders off the field.
To avoid making rough at both ends on the light-textured soil, Lever and Willis bowled into a stiff breeze and did exceptionally well. But Miandad took his aggregate to 239 in the series for only once out.
Wasim Bari's tardy declaration left England to get 344 in 330 minutes, but survival was the first priority and Boycott and Brearley answered every need with patient skill. Boycott, off the third ball of the twelfth over of the last fifteen, reached his third century in five Tests and eight innings since his comeback; it was his fifteenth century for England.
Both sides then gave up the contest. All might have been different if England had started the last day with one or more wickets down.