Images can be so much more powerful than words and it's hard to think of a more poignant mark of respect to the late Phil Hughes, than the Pakistanis and New Zealanders resting their respective green and black caps on their bats before the start of the second day's play in the third test.
The put-out-your-bats tribute has been a masterstroke; a minute's silence sustained the surreal air surrounding the day.
The flipside to the gesture is that the New Zealanders did not want to be there. The adorning of their one-day caps could be construed as a silent protest. The players also etched the initials 'PH' underneath the silver ferns on their shirts.
Hughes was killed after having his skull crushed by a bouncer in an Australian first-class match.
The Herald understands concerted efforts were made to end the test, but compromise was eventually reached between the Pakistan and New Zealand boards.
Tim Southee's dismissal of Misbah-ul-Haq in the fourth over of the morning was a prime example of the charade. If you hadn't observed the ball pick up the edge, the assumption would be Misbah was shuffling off to get new gloves.
There was barely a whoop or a holler as the ball deviated and B-J Watling took the catch.
The apathy was palpable; the body language devoid of enthusiasm.
Likewise, Boult took a candidate for cricket's most undemonstrative catch, reverse-cupping a skyer from Mohammad Hafeez at deep mid-wicket off Ish Sodhi. Hafeez's 197 was his highest test score. Muted responses followed each of the seven wickets, even Ross Taylor's 100th test catch off Rahat Ali.
That's been the Hughes effect. The raw reality that someone of his batting ability can die at first-class level has sobered all concerned. Inevitably they must think of their own close shaves dodging 156g leather missiles through the years. The conclusion no doubt ringing in their ears is: 'That could've been me.' In contrast there were no bouncers delivered by the New Zealand bowlers; they're feeling this too.
This is effectively a grieving period for the players, especially those that knew Hughes, as part of the cricketing fraternity.
Oh, by the way, at tea on the second day, New Zealand were 164 for one after restricting Pakistan to 351.
Brendon McCullum had made the fastest century by a New Zealander in tests, completing the feat in 78 balls. He was at his belligerent, cavalier best, and who could blame him in the circumstances. He took over the record from Ross Taylor who made one in 81 balls against Australia in 2010. It backed up the visitors taking seven wickets for 70 in the opening session.
If a further shred of optimism was to be derived, it came from off spinner Mark Craig who took his maiden test five-wicket bag. His seven for 94 were the 13th best figures by a New Zealand bowler and 3rd best by a spinner or New Zealander against Pakistan.
ANDREW ALDERSON TRAVELLED TO THE UAE COURTESY OF EMIRATES