Talented opener Nasir Jamshed upstaged Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as Pakistan secured a comfortable six-wicket victory in Sunday's first ODI at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Dhoni's vigil proved bigger in number, but Jamshed's effort enjoyed greater distance to seal an important one-nil lead in the three-match affair - the political and cricket rivals' first bilateral clash in five years.
The host skipper will feel entirely aggrieved, after the eighth century of his career - and arguably the finest - rescued India from a fragile start to push them to a formidable finish.
Pakistan, however, will bask in the diligent measure of their pursuit - which rose above the early losses of captain Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali en route to triumph with 11 deliveries to spare.
Visiting skipper Misbah-ul-Haq's decision to bowl first after winning the toss was the right one, given the increasingly heavy nature of the outfield and dampness of the ball in conditions hampered by overnight rain.
The choice brought plenty of early success too, with India slipping to a lame 29 for five inside the first 10 overs - as southpaw seamer Junaid Khan ran riot with one of the new balls.
Junaid extracted plenty of lateral movement, rollicking through the opposition top order by bowling each and everyone of Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh. Fellow left-armer Mohammad Irfan, meanwhile, was quick to rattle Gautam Gambhir's stumps too.
The stage was set for a record low score from India, but the courageous Dhoni - with Suresh Raina's 43 and Ravichandran Ashwin's 31 not out along for the ride - begged to differ despite the adversity.
Afforded a lifeline when on only 16, after Misbah grassed a chance at midwicket, Dhoni cashed in to the tune of an unbeaten 113 from 125 balls, seven fours and three handsome sixes included. There was nothing simple about his knock, considering the dauntingly hot weather and fervent nature of Junaid and company's drive.
The milestone also saw the Indian talisman pass 7,000 runs in ODI cricket and amass an Indian record for the seventh wicket alongside aspirant all-rounder Ashwin. The pair's unbroken 125-run alliance knew no bounds, ultimately removing the stuffing from a Pakistan attack that had expected to be off the field a lot sooner than at the turn of the 50th over.
Pakistan's chase endured an awkward start, with Hafeez dismissed for a first-ball duck by debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The rookie then added to the rarity of a wicket with his first ball in international cricket by removing Ali.
21 for two demanded a fightback, and Jamshed and the veteran Younis Khan dutifully delivered across a 112-run partnership that spanned one delivery more than 20 overs.
A sharp catch from Ashwin at midwicket to get rid of Khan for 58 and fast bowler Ishant Sharma's ability to outfox Misbah with a clever slower ball halted Pakistan's pleasure, only for the second ton of Jamshed's career and Shoaib Malik's came to resume - and complete - the cause.
The centurion and Malik, too, would not have made it as far as they did had India not floundered in the field. Yuvraj Singh shelled a straightforward chance at point when Jamshed was on 68, while Malik was caught behind off an Ashwin no-ball on six.
India would have clinched top spot in the ICC ODI rankings had they won on Sunday, but must instead question the makeup of their attack, which needed three part-timers to complete the fifth bowler's complement.
Pakistan, though, were largely the complete package - and the insight and inspiration gained from the weekend's triumph will serve them very well come the next fixture: Thursday's second ODI at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.