Home Test series aren't quite what they used to be for Pakistan. For their series against England in the UAE, Misbah-ul-Haq had spent 30 days away from his family home in Pakistan, waking at 5am on every match day and going back to sleep by 9pm. It has been a tough routine and even when the series was wrapped up with two sessions of the third Test to go, the players were still thousands of kilometres away from home.

Misbah was particularly desperate to get back. One of his return flight dates had been scheduled for November 4, on the off-chance that Pakistan might manage to wrap up the Test in four days. The biggest reward that he was looking for, after leading Pakistan to a 2-0 series win and the No.2 position in the world rankings, was a satisfying night's sleep.

Pakistan landed in the UAE with a huge expectation of repeating their 3-0 win against England in 2012. There had been plenty belief in the dressing room that they could do so, despite public statements that they wouldn't be taking England's Ashes winners lightly and Misbah declared that the eventual scoreline was "still satisfying". Pakistan lost a few sessions along the way and endured a significant scare in Abu Dhabi, but they always felt had the edge at the critical moments.

"[Winning] 3-0 is not the [main] thing," said Misbah, who believed that the challenge posed by Alastair Cook's men this time around was far greater than in 2012. "Winning against a better team, even a 2-0 win is big.

"Especially after what happened to us in the first Test where we lost our main bowler [Yasir Shah] and the opposition played very good cricket. They made 600 against our 500 so credit should also be given to them, winning against them is a big achievement for my team. This time they fought really much harder than before. Even today the odds were even, so it's satisfying to win."

England might not have looked threatening on paper, or in the final series scoreline, but Pakistan were stretched in all three games and were forced to produce an all-round performance to stay on the winning track.

"Obviously a win is a win, no matter who you are playing against, but they [England] are really big professionals. The way they bowl, bat, they don't give you easy wickets and no easy runs. They are so disciplined and go out as per their plans, and you learn different things from them.

"So, I think it's a big achievement for us and, for us, bigger challenges are coming ahead, so we have to now forget this victory and try to be up there for the bigger challenges coming ahead."

Despite their remarkable success in the UAE - unbeaten in all series there since their exile began in 2010 - Misbah insists that they don't take their dominance in the region for granted.

"When you go in any series you think positively, you have just one thing in mind: to win and especially at venues where you have been doing well, your players are familiar with the conditions and where you are unbeaten.

"Plus you have done well here against world-class teams like against England in 2012, then against Australia and against Sri Lanka, so these performances and the familiarity of conditions give you confidence and that's why we have been playing well.

"But you cannot say anything with surety in cricket, obviously you have that confidence inside and when you achieve, only then you can claim that you have done well and won the series."

Misbah's own reputation as a captain has been further enhanced by this latest win. With 20 Test wins, he is now the most successful leader in his country's history, leading the greatest names of all, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, in his wake.

Initially he was regarded as a defensive leader, but over the years, and especially under the head coach Waqar Younis, the team has evolved. The passion is intense and every player is brimming with confidence.

"When you do well in cricket or in any other sport, when you try and achieve something, you are pumped up and you celebrate and there comes emotions," said Misbah. "We had a difficult match in Abu Dhabi but we come back in Dubai and won from a tough situation, and here it was important to reach the No. 2 rankings. It was in everyone's mind so it was natural that emotions came and we celebrated.

"I always believe that it's the biggest plus for us, the kind of attack we have, the kind of batting we have, I think these conditions really suit us and the guys are adopting these conditions very well and they are making the most of that. The batsman and the bowlers are delivering but I think our biggest challenge for us is to play abroad so we have to get ready for that and prepare for that.

The next big challenge will come against England, in England. It promises to be a tough tour for many reasons - the conditions will favour England's outstanding seamers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, while the dark memories of the 2010 tour, with the spot-fixing scandal and its subsequent fall-out, will be brought closer to the surface.

But Misbah, who wouldn't be drawn on whether he will still be around to lead the side on that tour, said that, in the meantime, his team would learn the lessons of England's disciplined approach to adversity on that trip.

"What we have learn from England is their professionalism, their discipline and the way their seamers bowled on these sort of wickets. That was really pleasing to see. They were not giving you anything, building pressure and bowling reverse swing, and they showed they can also adapt in these conditions.

"Their batsmen batted well against the spinners and that's one thing you can take from them, that if the conditions are not what you are used to, if you apply yourselves then you can still put a good show."