Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Dubai, 3rd day January 19, 2012

'Chance to show our resilience' - Strauss

Sometimes it is in their lowest moments that sides find strength. Just as Pakistan, torn asunder both on and off the field, regrouped at the end of 2010, so England used the pain of their humiliation in Jamaica in 2009 to inspire them to build for better times.

Now Andrew Strauss hopes that England will utilise the anguish of the first-Test defeat as a motivational tool. While accepting that England's much vaunted batting line-up had seriously underperformed, England's captain was keen to avoid recriminations.

"In both innings we didn't apply ourselves as well as we should have done with the bat," Strauss said. "You can scratch your head and ask why and come up with so many recriminations and questions. The most important thing is that the batsmen are very clear about their method and that they use that feeling of disappointment as motivation to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"It won't be a huge challenge to pick the team up. There will be a huge feeling that we haven't given a good an account of ourselves, and that will give us good motivation to come back in the second Test. We're a really tight unit. We win and lose together, you move on and it's a chance for us to show our resilience and character. I know we have those in abundance but we have to show that. Nobody likes losing, that is for sure.

"We treated it like an aberration when we lost in Perth and we will treat this as an aberration as well. But we do have to make sure we don't repeat those mistakes. One of the things you have to be, as an international cricketer, is honest with yourself. You have to make sure you ask yourself the right questions and come up with the right answers before moving on."

Strauss has a hard balancing act, however. Several of England's batsmen - notably Kevin Pietersen - fell to shots bordering on reckless, but Strauss is aware that the spirit within the squad will not be improved by blaming individuals. At the same time, though, he wants the players to take responsibility for England's first Test defeat since December 2010.

"When a guy has just come in after a bad shot, you don't expect your team-mates to jump up and down telling you what a terrible shot you played," Strauss said. "But it's important you don't run away from facts and the truth. As batsmen we have to be honest and ask did we play well enough. We have to ask: was our game plan smart enough, were we switched on enough. All those questions are important. But I also think, at times like these the easy thing is to look at everything that went wrong. As a side it's important we keep connected with the fact we've done a lot of good things over the last two years and we will continue to do so."

Strauss made no excuses, though. He accepted that the pitch was flat and dismissed that his side had any inherent problems against the spin of Saeed Ajmal.

"We were caught off guard in that first session of the first day on a very flat wicket," he said. "From then on Pakistan never let us back into the game. You have to congratulate them for the way they played, but we're disappointed with the way we batted in both innings, particularly the first innings as it wasn't a 50 for 5 wicket. We have to learn some lessons and move forward.

"A couple of us contributed to our own downfall, which allowed Ajmal to put more pressure on the batsmen coming in. The ball wasn't turning a huge amount and I think the players who did get in and spend some time at the wicket looked fairly comfortable, but not enough of us were able to do that. We face a lot of good bowlers in Test cricket. I don't think there's anything about Ajmal that we should be unduly worried about. We have to be very clear about our game plan and make sure we don't make the same mistakes.

"It's a disappointing result because we did a lot of things well in our build-up. We played good cricket in the warm-up games. We weren't undercooked or underprepared. I'm certainly determined to come back strong in Abu Dhabi and I'm sure the rest of the guys are too."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo