Andrew Strauss stressed England must be honest about their own shortcomings after Pakistan delivered a shock to the system for the world-beaters yesterday.
The captain will deliver that assessment again to his team as they try to come to terms with a 10-wicket defeat inside three days in the first Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
England were twice bowled out for under 200 on a perfectly feasible pitch, and Pakistan needed under four overs of their second innings to complete the formality which took them 1-0 up with two to play in this series.
For England, a first Test defeat since Perth more than a year ago raises long-held doubts about whether - number one team or not - they have what it takes to succeed here in the Middle East or on the sub-continent.
Strauss made no attempt to dodge the issue of poor batting in both innings, principally against Saeed Ajmal - who finished with 10 wickets in the match - and then Umar Gul.
“We’re all slightly surprised by how things turned out,” Strauss said. “We got caught off guard in that first session on the first day, on a very flat wicket.
“From then on, Pakistan were always in front and never let us back into the game ... and they thoroughly deserved their victory.
“We’re very disappointed with the way we batted in both innings, primarily the first - because it wasn’t a 50-for-five wicket on day one.”
Several England batsmen, Strauss included in the first innings, contributed significantly to their own downfall.
The captain acknowledges that, but believes there is a right and wrong time to tell batsmen home truths.
“When a guy’s just come in, having played a bad shot, you don’t expect your team-mates to be jumping up and down telling you what a terrible shot you’ve just played,” he said.
“But what is important is you don’t run away from facts, and the truth. As individual batsmen, we’ve got to be honest and say, ‘Did we play well enough, was our gameplan smart enough, were we switched on enough?”