The ICC might have banned Pakistan's leading spinner Saeed Ajmal but the inexperienced pair of Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar proved enough to demolish Australia in Dubai.
Without Ajmal, Pakistan's attack seemed to lack firepower as since 2011 he has taken almost a third of Pakistan's wickets in Tests. In his 35-Test career so far, he has picked up 178 wickets at 28.10 and has been an influential performer for Pakistan across all formats. But a raw bowling mix showed no one is indispensable; debutant Yasir finished with figures of 7-116 and Babar took 7-155 to set up a famous victory.
Pakistan cricket's controversies have hogged the headlines in recent years: the spot-fixing saga had three of their top cricketers banned, wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider mysteriously deserted the team in Dubai, the attack on the Sri Lankan team left the country bereft of major international cricket at home, a year-long legal battle in Islamabad High Court caused plenty of changes in the PCB leadership. The latest one was the ouster of Ajmal, but as with each crisis Pakistan bounced back. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was keen on playing down the impact of individuals.
"I have always said that a win is always because of the team effort," Misbah said. "The team effort [v Australia] was good as everyone did his role. Batsmen scored when it was needed and bowlers gave breakthrough when demanded, they did their role when needed. Cricket is due to names, but in this match all the players did well as a team."
Pakistan, perhaps apart from the fifth day of the third Test against Sri Lanka in Sharjah earlier this year, had been functioning with a conservative approach for the last two years under the regime of previous head coach Dav Whatmore. However, this match had Pakistan showing a different approach with Misbah being more aggressive, setting attacking fields, and being proactive with his bowling changes.
"It's difficult to rank this win but it is one of the finest victories," said Misbah, who is one victory away from being the joint-most successful Pakistan Test captain. "I always rank 3-0 against England (in 2012 in UAE) at the top but after that this is a big achievement, for me also as captain. Looking ahead we will try to do this again but we have to try to focus more, be determined, avoid complacency and not get lazy which we do sometimes. A team like Australia, they are always there, always look for opportunity so we have to be focused."
This landmark win will take away some of the uncertainty the team faced and give them a sense of stability. Misbah ended day four with 55 push-ups in the field. When asked from where this energy and change came from, he smiled and said: "Waqar (Younis) bhai is here and you will see."
It was a clear message from Misbah, as he had received exceptional support in the last month from the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan. "Everyone supported me and I will especially thank PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, the way he backed me helped increase my confidence in a big way and the role my coaches played, they supported me throughout and helped.
"They removed the pressure off me and every time they said that we don't want your performance just focus on captaincy and they told me that you will get back, you have been performing for the last three-four years and in one series if you have not performed then it doesn't matter. I will also mention that all those people who used to criticise me in my good days, supported me in my bad times as well so that was encouraging."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson