Jarrod Kimber is a writer for ESPNcricinfo. @ajarrodkimber
Pakistan had a chance to lose today. It would have meant they not only lost the Test, and the series, but also their latest chance to go to No.1 in the world. It would have been a slap in the face to everything they have achieved, and to their hero, Younis Khan.
When Sarfraz Ahmed fell, squandering another good start by nicking off for 44, Pakistan were only 69 runs ahead. Their lead was still short of the 103-run lead they had at Edgbaston, and that wasn't enough. Now the Pakistan tail was coming in - and the best of them, Yasir Shah, had already done good work as a nightwatchman the day before. So it was left to the chaff. In the crucial last innings at Lord's, 9, 10 and 11 had made one run between them.
Right there, that is when it could have happened. The quick collapse, the shoddy bowling, the end of all hope. Younis Khan, walking off at the close of the day with nothing to show for it. Instead, Pakistan stood beside him.
It was Wahab Riaz first - a man who can hit, and is not bereft of batting, but never a sure thing. At Old Trafford he was their second top-scorer with 39. Today he barely had to face a ball. The man at the other end did the work; all Wahab had to do was a face a couple of balls at a time and avoid doing anything stupid. For 11 overs he did his job as well as he could. Wahab made four runs, but the partnership was 37, and it took the lead beyond 100, beyond Edgbaston.
Mohammad Amir can bat. He almost stole an ODI against New Zealand once. And although he has spent five years out of the game, it is fair to say he hasn't spent the time getting throwdowns and working on his game. He hasn't ever seen a ball he doesn't want to slash through point. For 23 balls though, he was a monk, and only then, with the lead already at 130 and Younis already past 200, did he dare launch Moeen Ali over the rope. It was his first scoring shot, and England's collective shoulders slumped at that moment.
The tail that is a punchline has been standing up all series. Yasir's innings at Lord's gave Pakistan enough runs; 8, 9 and 10 outscored the top three in the second innings at Old Trafford, and Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali put together the second-biggest partnership on the last day at Edgbaston. Here Yasir batted for 17.3 overs, Wahab 11.3 and Amir 24.2 - a combined total of 43.2 overs.
The main difference here was they didn't stand alone, they stood with a great of the game. Letting him down would be like letting down your father, your President, your King Khan. If Younis Khan tells you to block out a few overs and play smart cricket, tackle a bear family, or walk through a field of razor wire for 73 miles, you do it.
Someone on commentary said this was the kind of innings in which you don't remember a shot. If you can't remember this innings, there is something wrong with your cricket emotions. Unless what he meant was that you didn't have to remember it, you simply enjoyed it by osmosis, so all the shots - the cut off Finn, the quicksilver hands that swept Moeen, the sixes, all of them, of authoritarian glory and the sweet drives - were now just part of you having been in their presence.
The six to bring up Younis's 200 will be the shot that gets replayed for years to come. But it was the ball before that was Younis at his best. He should be in a commentary box, misremembering old cricket stories and mispronouncing current player's names. But instead he keeps going into battle for his nation. Even when earlier in the series the game looked beyond him, he didn't walk away, he stood and fought.
So here was this old man, with all the fielders back, hitting the ball at the exact right angle, with the exact right weight, and then scampering through for two runs like a teenager trying to prove something. He has nothing left to prove, and he still keeps proving it. It was smart, it was skilful, it showed desperation, it had courage, and it was a testament to his fitness. The six, well that was just muscle memory, a spinner is bowling, he was nearing a landmark, why not hit this guy into row F, seat 27.
At the press conference Younis dedicated this innings to Hanif Mohammad, a man of greatness like him. He didn't have to dedicate it with his words; he had spent two days honouring Hanif with his bat. It was, in length, in importance, in style, in every single way, Younis Khan in Excelsis. This man who has played his games in empty stadia, outside his home, with people watching on illegal streams, was suddenly getting 25,000 opposition fans to stand up and celebrate him.
The man who captained the World T20 triumph, the man who made a triple century the last time he was allowed to play at home, the man who has witnessed his team-mates being thrown in jail and his opposition being shot at by terrorists, the man who dragged Pakistan cricket up from its darkest times, and the man who just bats and bats for his country. That man deserves to go out knowing that his team did everything they could to fight for the No. 1 spot. That the thing he spent his whole life mastering, finally paid off.
They all want to be the first Pakistani team to be the official World No.1. But they want to do it for Younis as well.
By the time Pakistan's bowlers had destroyed England's top order, West Indies had already collapsed against India so their latest chance of going top had been delayed. But this time it wasn't due to a Pakistan mistake. They were glorious, from first ball to last, they were as good as they could be. Pakistan had a chance to lose today; they have a chance to win tomorrow.
Pakistan didn't perform another 'come from in front defeat'. They didn't give up their chance of being No.1. Today they weren't carried by Younis; they were as good as him. They stood with Younis. They were Younis.