Usually, there's nothing more anti-climatic than a DRS review to end a Test match. The ecstasy of the moment is at its purest the first time that finger goes up. Raw. Undistilled. Real. When it's sent to the umpire upstairs, though the anxiety returns, the wait for confirmation or disavowal is, well, just that - waiting. Even if it comes back as the former, the emotions have already been spent, the octaves of those first cheers never quite reached again. It's why you only really get one go at a surprise party.
There, in a manufactured nutshell, was one of the key tenets that this team, and thus this 78-run victory, has been built on. A remarkably robust camaraderie, in the image of a captain whose selfless streak goes to the heart of everything that is good about his game, and even mitigates some of the bad - not least his eyecatchingly bad shot to get out for a duck in the fourth-day declaration charge.
You could say the theme of this week has been togetherness, given the manner in which a virus ran through the camp in the lead-up to this match. The aftermath, in terms of recovery and what they have been able to put together over the last five days of play, speaks of the more tangible elements to it. Having begun to feel ill on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, the group rallied as best they could, checking in on one another, doing their best to lift the spirits of those confined to their rooms. It was late on Wednesday that Stokes, having recovered enough from his own ailment, paid a visit to fellow bug sufferer Leach in his room. Part of the check-up was to push him to play, even if he was not 100 percent.
The team were as one when they awoke on Thursday, unsure if the Test would be delayed by 24 hours if they could not scrape together an XI. Messages went around to see how everyone was holding up. As it happened, the only player to miss out from the team named on Tuesday was Ben Foakes. Having failed a last-minute fitness test before the toss, Will Jacks stepped in as his replacement, and was handed his cap by his Surrey team-mate Pope, who in turn assumed the gloves.
Speaking on the local TV network, Pope admitted he had felt a little nervous about filling in for one of the best glovemen in the country while also fulfilling the No.3 duties, a job done best with a singular focus. Instead, he contributed 108 to a first-innings total of 657 before getting down to 252 overs' of grind behind the stumps. His catch off Abdullah Shafique would hand Jacks his maiden Test wicket, and he'd chip in with two more as the off-spinner conjured six for 161 to bowl Pakistan out and establish an invaluable lead of 78.
At stumps on day one, the players got around each other once again. By then, England were 506 for four thanks to four centurions - Pope, Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley and Harry Brook - but amid the deserved praise from head Brendon McCullum was an appreciation from all four that the hard work was only just beginning. As well as they played, on their way to England's highest score in Asia and becoming the first team to strike at better than a run-a-ball in both innings of a Test match, no one was resting on their laurels.
It's worth sticking on that moment a little bit, because it was at this juncture that opinions diverged. In the lead-up to this Test, heck, way back when this whole Magic Roundabout of a fever dream began in May, front-facing members of the touring party have espoused the mantra of disregarding a loss if it comes through pushing for victory. This however, seemed a little too far-fetched. The lead was 342 and, even allowing for the surface, England had the match in their hands. And seemingly drunk on the Kool Aid, maybe even with a jumped-up sense of self, they decided to break off half and hand it over to Pakistan.
While those on the periphery doubted, even ridiculed a declaration made seemingly out of hubris, Stokes powered on, clear-headed about what he wanted to achieve and exactly how he was going to do it. And the best part of the plan was the collaboration that led England to victory.
The younger members maintained enthusiasm, unwilling to consider the prospect of investing so much into a match and coming out empty-handed, and also railing against the idea that some of their ilk don't have the concentration or hunger for this format. "A few times I said 'just enjoy the flatness'," said Stokes. "Enjoy the challenge of trying to create something out of nowhere."
While Stokes racked his brains for new fields, others offers suggestions, at times even taking it upon themselves to stagger themselves differently - such as when four men were stationed spitting distance from one another on the off-side at point, cover-point, cover and extra cover, or during the final throes, when both edges of the bat were being challenged. Catchers had to be arranged accordingly, but each player took responsibility for where they needed to be. This was all their burden to share, not solely the captain's. "There were a lot of things that went our way today that paid off, because of the suggestions that were coming in from the guys that were out there," Stokes said, sharing the credit.
Indeed, to look at how England approached the last innings is to realise how devoid it was of pretension, from the man in charge to those he was leading. No one was too good to do something they weren't comfortable with.
Most notably, beyond the exuberance of those wet behind the years, was how those hardwired with preconceptions of Test cricket - even weathered by them - responded. Stokes revealed it was Root who came up with the short-ball ploy for the start of the second innings. A once reluctant, unimaginative captain seemingly responding to the challenge of thinking creatively and feeling emboldened to suggest something he would never have instigated in his five years. And yet thanks to him, England arrived into day five needing only eight wickets rather than 10, with the crown jewel Babar Azam, a centurion in the first innings, snuffed out for just four
"Jimmy Anderson said to me there at the end-of-match presentation that he was getting quite emotional about this win," Stokes revealed. "The guy has played nearly 180 Test matches, has experienced everything, the highs and lows of Test cricket. To hear him say that about this particular Test match, I think that really makes you realise how special an achievement this week has been, wearing this England shirt."
Having won ODI and T20 World Cups, and achieved 2019's miracle at Headingley, Stokes rated this success as one of the best. It is unquestionably the best embodiment of him as a captain. Not just for his bravery, nor the tactical calls that paid dividends, such as keeping the reversing old ball in play until midway through the 95th over to quieten the scoring, then replacing it that so Leach could use the prouder seam to turn it off the deck and win the match. But for the way he inspired everyone to rally together from start to finish.
"At the moment it feels like everyone is doing what they need to do for the bloke that's stood next to them," he beamed at his press conference, almost like a proud father.
"As a captain it's amazing to see the amount of enthusiasm and the heart that everyone shows. I don't think I've seen a team who want to put their bodies on the line [as much] for the other 10 players. It's a special group of players."
With eight minutes to go in the match, England beat the pitch, the setting sun and Pakistan to go 1-0 up in the series. And they achieved it through skill, pluck and the kind of team performance that will bind them together for a lifetime.
Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo