It was too late to save the series, but Pakistan did well beat India by 31 runs in the fifth and final One-Day International and salvage some pride in Jaipur on Sunday night.
Despite the defeat in the dead rubber, India won the five-match series 3-2, ending a 24-year drought for an ODI series triumph at home against the traditional rivals.
Batting first, Pakistan rode on a 168-run stand between Shoaib Malik (89) and Mohammad Yousuf (74) to amass 306 for 6. They then did well to shoot out the hosts for 275 in 49.5 overs and chalk out a victory that will lift their morale ahead of the Test series.
Rohit Sharma's 52 and Yuvraj Singh's 50 was not enough to save India.
That none of the teams took the match seriously was more than evident from the fact that both made wholesale changes to their line-up to rest some of the regulars and try out a few benchwarmers.
Sourav Ganguly joined Zaheer Khan, R P Singh and Harbhajan Singh on the sidelines, paving way for Rohit Sharma, Murali Kartik, S Sreesanth and UP all-rounder Praveen Kumar, who made his ODI debut.
Pakistan also fielded a second string side, leaving out Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Shoaib Akhtar and Kamran Akmal while bringing in Fawad Alam, Imran Nazir, Yasir Hameed and rookie stumper Sarfraz Ahmed, who also earned his first ODI cap.
Realising the dew factor might make it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball in the second innings, Dhoni had little hesitation in inserting Pakistan. After he won the boss, he immediately tossed the ball to Praveen to open the attack.
Praveen began his international career with a maiden over while Sreesanth too looked tidy as Pakistan crawled to 18 in the first five overs. Pakistani opener Salman Butt and Imran Nazir, however, soon broke the shackles and freed their arms.
Nazir attacked Praveen while Butt helped him to some easy boundaries off both Praveen and Irfan Pathan.
Having reached 50 in 67 balls, Pakistan cruised to crisis, as Sreesanth, letting out his pent-up frustrations at being ignored in the previous matches, came up with a three-wicket burst in a span of three overs to rock the visitors.
The slide started in the 13th over when Sreesanth induced Butt for a pull and Rohit Sharma took the top edge at mid-on.
In his next over, Yasir Hameed (1) was done in by extra bounce as he perished caught behind and Sreesanth returned to catch Imran Nazirs full-blooded drive off his own bowling for his 50th wicket in ODIs.
From 65 for no loss, Pakistan stuttered to 77 for three and things looked pretty bleak for the visitors.
The bailout job was then left to Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik and they not only arrested the slide but also propped the innings with a sensible partnership.
Pakistan reached the three-figure mark in 21.3 overs and the next fifty came in 10 overs. As if insisting that the burden of captaincy has not bogged him down, Malik stepped out to hit Virender Sehwag over midwicket for a sweet six and then meted out the same treatment to Kartik after completing his fifty.
Malik almost perished on 28 but Yuvraj Singh could not hold on to the difficult catch at cover off Murali Kartik.
The crisis seemed a matter of the past as Pakistan cruised to 200 in 36.5 overs, thanks to what turned out to be the highest fourth wicket partnership in an Indo-Pak tie.
Malik was looking good for a century when rush of blood did him in as he charged out to Murali Kartik only to miss the ball and return stumped.
Malik's 82-ball 89 included six hits to the fence besides two sixes. He figured in a 168-run stand off just 153 balls with Yousuf, who soon joined him in the pavilion when Yuvraj had him stumped. Yousufs 82-ball 74 had four fours in it.
Misbah-ul-Haq began with a maximum off Yuvraj and followed it with a reverse swept four but was caught by Irfan Pathan off his own bowling in the penultimate over after a 17-ball cameo of 22.
Fawad Alam hit Irfan over his head for a six and eventually remained not out on 32 off just 23 balls.
India slumped to 26 for 2 after Sohail Tanvir trapped Gautam Gambhir (12) in the fourth over and then first change bowler Rao Iftikhar dismissed Robin Uthappa (1), caught by Misbah-ul Haq, who had floored a similar chance two balls earlier.
Sachin Tendulkar (30, 27b, 6x4) delighted the choc-a-bloc Sawai Mansingh Stadium with a brief scintillating display before Tanvir sent groans across the ground by having him caught by Misbah at gully.
Five runs later, his former understudy, Virender Sehwag (12), too was cooling his heels in the pavilion, giving Tanvir his third wicket and leaving India gasping at 62 for four.
Rohit (52 off 61b, 3x4,1x6) and Yuvraj (50 off 62b, 3x41x6) decided not to do anything silly and cruised along. The Mumbai right-hander helped himself to a maiden fifty off 58 balls and added two more runs before holing out to Yasir Hameed off Malik.
Yuvraj poked, missed and was hit in the helmet, and looked in all sort of trouble, before finding his feet and racing to 50 in 61 balls.
But just when another Yuvraj-Dhoni partnership started to flourish, the left-hander fell to Umar Gul, though the ball probably hit his arm before reaching the stumper.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (24) had hammered 183 not out against Sri Lanka in 2005 at the same venue, but today was not his day. First, he twisted his ankle and then perished trying to hit Shoaib Malik out of the ground.
For the hosts, the match was as good as over when Imran Nazir placed himself under the swirling ball at mid-wicket.
Though Irfan Pathan (43 of 39b, 4x4,1x6) dazzled towards the end, it was unfair to expect either him, or Praveen Kumar (12), Murali Kartik (16) and S Sreesanth (10) to pull off victory.